IF Vox Pop: a single mother speaks out

IF Vox Pop is a series of pieces submitted to the Intergenerational Foundation by members of the public, expressing their take on the issues we raise. Here, a nurse from Devon voices her concern that the ageing population is unknowingly placing an unfair burden on the young.IF_Blog_Vox_Pop_Retro_Mic_logo_revised

I’m a single mum to a 14-year-old, and I support your organisation.

I feel aggrieved when I walk around a silent 1970s housing estate where at one time each house held a family. Now many houses with garage, garden and driveway holds a retired person whose kids are bringing up their families in rented accommodation or tiny newbuilds.

As a nurse I do worry about where the resources are coming from to support an ageing population, many of whom took early retirement and can be expected to live into their 90s. Ironically in this part of England most of the work available is carework.

I won’t be retiring until I’m 67, but I support increasing the retirement age: if our lifespans are expected to increase, we do need to pay in for longer. It does however mean that if people aren’t retiring they’re not creating the room for the younger generation to come through – a double-edged sword.

I also feel that older people have a responsibility to play their part in society – which many of them do – in order to support the younger generation who will ultimately be supporting them.

Free bus passes for teenagers and young people in rural areas to me would seem far more appropriate than to all retired people, many of whom have a very comfortable lifestyle. Many younger people in this small Devon community often can’t afford bus fares to take them to enjoy the amenities of Exeter or Plymouth.

I think it’s really important to raise awareness among the older generation of how it is for young people today, and what a serious issue it is. On at least four occasions I have heard such comments as “We need a four-bedroom house because of all our things” – for instance, said by her mother-in-law to a friend of mine who has to share her marital bedroom with a toddler due to lack of space.

What I’m hearing is that they really just don’t get it!