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Monday, October 20, 2008

Post doctorate at 82

Is there any age limit to register as a student in the university? There should not be any limit. As long as people are well and affordable why not. I was in UK from 29th August untill 7th September 2008, attended the Annual British Society of Gerontology conference which was held at the Franchey Campus, University of the West of England, Bristol. The conference was for three days (4th to 6th September 2008). The theme of the conference was "SUSTAINABLE FUTURES IN AN AGEING WORLD".

What I would like to share here is the determination of a conference participant. Her name is Elsie Richardson. She was 82 years old. She presented a free paper titled "Do we eat or do we heat?" She represented Older People's Research Group, Northumbria University, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. I did not listen to her presentation because at the same time I was presenting a paper titled "Road to a sustainable community based initiative in promoting active ageing" in another room. However I met her on the last day while waiting for a taxi to send me from the campus to the Bristol Bus Station. I was taking the National Express bus to Heathrow airport. I was amazed to hear that she is now doing her post-doctorate study in Newcastle. She got her PhD at the age of 70 plus.

After getting to know her for about ten minutes, I asked her how she could manage to be active at her current age. What attracted me was when she said,

"...of course I have pain and aches. My leg swells, my back ache. My dear you must not
concentrate on the pain and ache. You will forget them if you keep on busy"

Elsie has three daughters if I am not mistaken. She lives alone but keep in close contact with her children. She was actually waiting for one of her daughters to fetch her from the campus, bring her to her daughter's house and was going for a week's holiday overseas with her. As she said,

"...she [her daughter] will take leave five days every year to bring me for holiday..."

There are a lot of things to ponder from Elsie's story. Age is definitely not a limitation for her. She is computer literate, uses modern type of handphone, active in community work, very determine to empower older people and is VERY VERY POSITIVE ABOUT LIFE.