Letters


WANTED: MORE COVERAGE OF OLDER WOMEN

When I was younger and healthy, I didn't realize how important good health is in older age, and did not pay much attention to what I could be doing to stay healthy. I wish I had. Ill health not only costs time and energy, it costs money because most provincial and private health and dental plans diminish drastically after retirement. Key to older women's wellbeing, therefore, is that health care remain public, and that feminist frameworks are used to make policy decisions in areas of particular importance to older women, such as pension reform, poverty, housing, transportation and mobility.

I am writing to ask that Herizons give more prominence to issues as they affect older women. For example, at the Older Women's Network in Toronto, they are urging young and mid-life women to look seriously at long-term financial planning. An economic plan defines the kinds of decisions you will be able to make now about jobs and benefits, and will determine your future lifestyle. One in seven women in Canada live in poverty and few younger women realize that many of these women are living alone, isolated, lonely and often sick. And could very soon be them, since 40 to 50 percent of women have no access to a meaningful employment pension plan, i.e., above the poverty line.

There is a prevailing attitude that it's all been done, which is especially discouraging for those older women who have worked hard for women's equality and now find themselves in powerless positions personally and politically. This compounds the difficulties of accepting the fact of aging and old age.

We live in a youth-obsessed society which regards aging with horror and in its desperate attempts to extend youth does not look at the benefits inherent in the aging process and age itself. As talk show host Dina Petty said in a recent interview: "No matter how many face lifts, young hip fashions you wear or how often you lie about your age until you almost believe it, 40 is not the new 60. …

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