SPEAKING to a distinguished lawyer of over four decades’ experience, I asked why he continued working.

“I enjoy it,” he replied, “though I sometimes have a problem convincing clients I’m not too old.”

Mick Jagger, another distinguished artist with decades of experience, was recently age-shamed by a commentator on national TV with the comment “bless” when The Rolling Stones released their latest album. Ask any job applicant over the age of 55 with several decades’ experience under their belt if they think they will succeed in getting another job in their field of expertise and they’ll tell you the truth: no chance!

Society’s attitude to the ‘pension age’, which has crept ever upwards, is as if, after several years in the workplace, a person should step aside to ‘leave room for the youngsters’. Slip quietly into your slippers and settle in your armchair; no pipe, obviously.

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This societal attitude is also displayed in an ageism in legislation. Vaccines for shingles are given to those 70 or over, or those aged 65 this year. Hard luck if you are already 65 but under 70, you fall off the spreadsheet, tough love. The ‘WASPI’ women (Women Against State Pension Inequality), whose pension has been delayed six years, have had their situation recognised as discriminatory. The ombudsman, tasked with righting this wrong, is still considering what, if any, compensation is due.

Presenting a report on the UK’s ageing population, Sir Chris Whitty has advised that “old-fashioned habits” like eating well and staying active will help us keep healthier. Cutting down on drugs (the prescribed sort), reducing alcohol and tobacco, and eating less will keep us alive longer – not something everyone would be able, or want, to achieve.

In the recent census, almost 10 per cent of East Lothian’s population was over 75. If we follow the chief medical officer’s advice, have no work, no funds and are discouraged from the pub, watch out for us all jogging along the beach in Lycra to the beat of The Rolling Stones. It’s the only fun we’ll have.