Most of the energy we spend on ageing is spent on denial, on turning back the clock, on finding ways to cheat age, wrinkles and death. No amount of alarmist rhetoric about the terrible burden of ageing population and its health care costs can make us face its reality, we are too scared. Even when we recognise that other cultures make a better life for old people, as youth-worshippers, we do everything we can to make sure that the old are out of sight and out of mind. But the baby boomers are not going to go quietly out onto the ice (or into an old age home). In possession of their faculties and a huge proportion of society's assets they might just be the generation who can convince us that there is nothing wrong with being old, the old deserve a place at the heart of things and age is not a burden, but something to celebrate.
Patricia Edgar is a sociologist, educator, film and television producer, writer, researcher, and policy analyst. Her latest book is In Praise of Ageing.
Chair: Simon Longstaff is Executive Director of St James Ethics Centre, and is co-curator of Festival of Dangerous Ideas.