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Ending on a high

29 Dec 2010

My clock radio doesn't realise it doesn't need to wake me as I'm on holidays, so I'm not usually happy to hear John Humphries or James Naughtie's dulcet tones when I should be having a lie-in. But this week there was some benfit to my inability to re-jig the timer.   

On Monday 27 December, BBC Radio 4's Today programme had 90-something Diana Athill as its guest editor. Athill was very surprised at how well her award-winning memoir on ageing, Somewhere Towards the End, was received internationally.

With this in mind, she has commissioned a series of pieces examining changing attitudes to older people. It began with BBC Rome correspondent David Willey speaking to Fay Caracciolo, an older resident of that city.

Later at 7.20 am (groan...)  I was jolted awake by the piece by BBC Lahore correspondent Aleem Maqbool, who speaks to his aged aunt and uncle. It was a wonderful interview, great to hear older people confidently explaining how much experience counts... It could have come straight from the older people who speak to our Pakistan country manager, Asma Akhbar.  Read Asma's Paksitan blogs here. 

Later on again in the programme  (and this time I was geniunely functioning) after the usual cold weather nightmare reports, the BBC returned to the theme of Diana Athill's desire to hear voices from around the world about the business of getting old. BBC Africa correspondent Will Ross asked an older Kenyan couple and their grandchildren about their experiences.

You can hear this on the Radio 4 website at http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9321000/9321913.stm

So my quest for positive stories about ageing has ended on a high. Not so remarkably, it would appear that if you want to find stories that show the multi-faceted nature of global ageing, put an older person in charge! 

Happy New Year.

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Author profile

Rosaleen Cunningham
Country: Ireland
Job title: Freelance Media and Communications

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These blogs are personal reflections and do not necessarily reflect the views of HelpAge International.