KF: Hey, John, I’ve got a topic.

JD: Oh, what is that?

KF: I would like to talk about older people and respect.

JD: Oh, there’s a broad subject.

KF: It’s a big one. Now, as you’ll recall, we spoke to Dr. Marlene Krasovitsky from Every Age counts, maybe about four or five weeks ago. And Marlene heads up this organization, which is fighting age discrimination at any age. So, you might be young and people might dismiss you as a silly millennial.

JD: “You don’t know anything”.

KF: No, don’t do that. Don’t say “young people just spend all their money, they’re irresponsible” because that’s not correct. You know? So it’s respect at any age, but top of head, because we are still seeing the coronavirus play out is, older people and their rights.

So, we have supermarkets – who’ve created the first hour or so for shopping for older people when the shelves are theoretically stacked.

JD: And they don’t have to fight others.

KF: So that’s respectful. That’s respectful.

JD: Fantastic.

KF: But then we’ve got suggestions coming out of Europe, that older people are being deprioritized when it comes to intensive care because they’re higher risk, more likely to die. Therefore, it leaves the bed for the younger person.

JD: Hm, this has all the hallmarks of a science fiction movie, doesn’t it?

KF: It’s scary because what value do we place on a human life?

JD: Do you have research to back this up as far as some of these thoughts that are occurring in Europe?

KF: Well, there’s a lot of reporting of what different countries are doing. Now, I certainly saw that reported about the health system in Italy. Whether it’s correct or not, I can’t verify. But that led me to a report that someone put up on social media and it was some young female in the UK.

JD: Let me have a look at this. Is this it? Katie Hopkins? Who the hell is Katie Hopkins?

KF: She’s a journalist.

JD: Katie Hopkins proposes euthanasia vans as UK has far too many old people. She’s a Sun columnist.

KF: Look, she is. And that report is old. But because of the situation now, it’s circulating again because her point of view was, well, what can you do about so many old people? We’ve got to look after the younger generations.

And it just seems in a time of crisis, it makes no sense whatsoever to slam another age group. I just get so incensed when I think – this is not helpful.

We all love our older parents or our grandparents. We all love our children and grandchildren. Why would we cherry pick one generation and remove their privileges? What’s going on?

JD: And that’s a remarkable story. What worries me, of course, is in the US, where health is so expensive – health care is so expensive, where some of the most vulnerable can’t afford it.

KF: And we also know, let’s speak about younger people now, that when people are working in the gig economy, when they live paycheck to paycheck and let’s say the restaurant is closed …

JD: The gig economy, what’s that?

KF: The gig economy, meaning you are a casual worker at best. So you could be an Uber driver, to mention a brand. So, when Uber’s on, you’ll get work. But if Uber’s not on …

JD: Okay, You’re not getting any money.

KF: Yeah. You’re dispensable, you don’t have rights. You haven’t got leave. You haven’t got a lot of the typical old style rights in place.

So thinking more broadly about what age discrimination is, it really has an effect on employment, health care, aged care, housing and digital inclusion.

So when we’re going through a time when we have a health crisis, to put it bluntly, I think it’s time to take a chill pill and step back and think, how would I feel if I was 85, maybe fragile, maybe lonely, heading down to the local shops?

I think it would be nice if someone gave me a seat on the train or the tram. Someone offered to carry my bag. Maybe my next door neighbor would check to see how I am.

JD: As we once did, it was very much a neighborhood. But now we tend to be very isolated.

KF: Well, people are saying some good will come out of this health crisis, and maybe we will learn to think about each other a little bit more.

JD: Kaye, as you know, this sort of a situation brings out the best in people and brings out the worst.

KF: Let’s work on the best.

JD: Absolutely.

KF: Let’s go for the best.

JD: And on that very positive, upbeat note, we’ll say thank you so much indeed for joining us on this episode of Mind Your Own Retirement. Kaye, we’ll see you next time.

KF: Thank you, John.