Facing up to an age old problem

The music is pounding. Women in sequins sip something sparkling from flute glasses. Men in dinner suits dance in a conga-line. But this is more Tuesday Afternoon Foxtrot than Saturday Night Fever. The dancers are all pensioners, it’s daylight outside and they are hoovering up jam-and-scones, not class A drugs.

“I just don’t want to sit and play bingo,” one grey-haired lady in diamante earrings tells the camera. “I come out here and I just feel smashing.” This is one of London’s nightclubs for the elderly – part of a campaign to curb loneliness – and a movement that first started in South Korea. And it’s an idea that tickled Minister for Seniors Tracey Martin so much, that she shared a video of the event with her Facebook followers.

“They were having a blast, you should see this video, mate. It’s just awesome,” she said. “Now, we assume that all our older people want to do small, quiet things. But just because you are 80 doesn’t mean you don’t like dancing.”

But while those day-time disco goers are looking to escape some of the problems of old age, Martin is facing them head on.

New Zealand’s population is ageing rapidly. Within 20 years, about a quarter of the population will be over 65. But they will be healthier, live longer, be more educated and skilled – and will want to remain in the workforce well into their 60s and 70s.

Read more: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/105064304/facing-up-to-an-age-old-problem

Andrea Vance – Stuff politics

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