Sunday, 27 October 2013

Granny Power : Top jobs, top beds and why you should never give up on looking good

Courtesy of The Express
There seems to have been a sudden outbreak of power pensioners taking over the world’s top jobs. Apparently unnoticed, much of the control of the free world has fallen into the hands of a clutch of ladies old enough to collect their bus passes. Eleanor Mills revealed this trend in a recent Sunday Times article entitled ‘The grey and comfy shape of things to come’ focusing on the ‘grandmotherly’ appeal of Janet Yellen, President Obama's choice to take over as Chief of the Federal Reserve, Angela Merkel and Hilary Clinton amongst a clutch of others.

I applaud a focus on brains and skills over image.  But frankly I don’t aspire to stride the world sporting elastic waists and cosy trouser suits and I don’t think you need to choose.  And neither, does it seem, do the pensioners I met recently at my local hospital where I recently spent two days in my local A and E department with my ageing mother who needed help for a nasty blood clot in her leg.

Janet Yellen (courtesy BloombergBusinessWeek)
Over two days the A and E admissions consisted almost entirely of the over 75s and the under 5s.  I suspect the second two groups are typical of a nationwide picture if the statistics are to be believed. I saw a stream of old people admitted (including my mother) many with problems that would never require hospital admission in a younger person.  They are allocated beds often for days or even weeks and I couldn’t help wondering how many people planning operations were being told they just had to get to the back of the queue.

Statistics show that there has been an alarming rise in cancellations of operations because of the pressure created by A and E admissions using the beds.  Sometimes operations are cancelled ON THE DAY. What kind of medieval torment is that? I can think of little worse than having spent months psyching myself up for a hip replacement only to be told that Mrs Miggins has fallen over her cat and has jumped the queue and so I will have to postpone making my peace with my family, God and everyone who knows me for another couple of days. 

But there was a plus side. These elderly ladies clearly weren’t compromising on their appearance. In the hospital shop alongside hundreds of copies of the Daily Mail and packets of wet wipes, I noticed a nail varnish drying machine and a pair of hair straighteners for sale.  Which made me wonder.  Are all these pensioners whisked into the wards from A and E secretly planning to shin down the fire escapes for glamorous nights out hitting the dance floor and downing their bodyweight in Mojitos? Makes you think.