10 Aug 2016

Episode 4 - Intergenerational conversation

From A Wrinkle in Time, 9:00 am on 10 August 2016

Noelle McCarthy takes an honest look at ageism, pension costs, and intergenerational tension.

What is the best advice one of your grandparents ever gave you?

There is no denying the wisdom of age - but in a world where people are living longer and 50 is the new 40, what defines being “old” and what challenges does an ageing population present for younger generations?

At age 67, Suzy Morrison is a baby boomer. She blogs about the intergenerational tensions brought on by people living and working longer.

“I didn't expect to be working when I was 67. I visualised that I'd retire when I was 65 but anyway opportunities arose and here I am,” Ms Morrison says.

She’s aware of a light resentment of her generation.

“Sort of like jokes  - like ‘Oh it’s alright for you, you were around when education was free’. You know, I left school when I was 15 and you walked into jobs in those days and you can’t do that these days and people know that. So yeah there is a little bit of tension that I notice.”

Noelle McCarthy interviews Suzy Morrison:

Video filmed by Diego Opatowski and edited by Claire Eastham-Farrelly.

Stanford University professor Richard Harrison says this lack of stability and security for the younger generations is having an impact.

“We are always subjected to a series of shocks and concussions that make it hard to believe sometimes that everything is finally going to work itself out, stabilise itself and reach deep into the future.”

People from different generations can sometimes struggle to relate to each other. Learning is no longer transmitted from generation to generation, at your grandmother’s knee.

Dr Harrison says society does not value old age the way it used to, even though there were definite advantages to clocking up the years.

“There is more time left for the young but I’m not sure that they live it that way, it’s biologically true and it’s maybe factually true that their future lies ahead of them, but sometimes psychology is perverse enough that the youthful mindset can be much more trapped within the present tense than people at an older age who actually live within a distended future, even though they have less material or chronological time left in their lives.”

 *New episodes in this series will be available on rnz.co.nz every Wednesday and on air on the Sunday Morning programme. 

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