22 January 2012

How to stay alive longer

Elderly should be encouraged to downsize ...

[Housing Minister Grant Shapps] said that authorities should encourage elderly homeowners to move to more suitable accommodation by helping them rent their old homes to families. He pointed to the example of a pilot scheme in east London where Redbridge council has helped elderly people move without having to sell their homes in a bid to tackle the housing crisis. They also get to keep rental income from their property, so they can fund any care costs they have to face. ...

There was outrage after a report by a think tank linked to Labour suggested last year that older people should be taxed out of their homes to free up space for younger generations. The Intergenerational Foundation argued that ‘empty nesters’ in their 60s should be encouraged to downsize by a new ‘land tax’. (Daily Mail, 17 January 2012)

Pensioners to be ‘helped’ by councils to ‘downsize’ so that any spare rooms can be used by families. Population with an above-average IQ to be squeezed tighter still, for the benefit of expanding population with average IQ certainly not above average for population as a whole, and quite possibly below it.

But maybe some of the pensioners do not want to downsize. Perhaps some of them, like me, had a ruined education and are still trying to make up for it by expanding their incipient independent academic establishment to a tolerable size for even a minimum of productivity to begin. When it does begin, that will be the start of my adult academic career, so far as I am concerned, even if I am having to start at an age that is past what the oppressive society around me likes to regard as retirement age.

What any pensioner with a house of his own could do (and from some points of view should do) would be to sell his house and buy one in Cuddesdon, perhaps not with so many spare rooms as his former house but with as many as possible, do some voluntary work for my struggling and squeezed independent university, and cooperate in some of the business operations which can be set up to make the best use of the abilities of associate workers who may have restrictions on their physical mobility, and of the abilities of those who do not.

My institute is desperately in need of storage and office space and could probably pay them rent for their spare rooms to supplement their incomes. Then the rooms would be being used to reduce the disadvantages of a population with above average IQs, instead of used to provide advantages to the expanding low-IQ population.

Now the pensioner, living in the house which he owns, and which now has too many vacant rooms, may of course have no plans of his own to get started on his long-delayed business ventures or academic research; nevertheless, if he is persuaded to leave his familiar environment for an unfamiliar prison cell, and knowing that it is the end of his life and that he is now expected by everyone to go into a decline, this can easily undermine him psychologically so that he does go into a decline very soon after. I know of several cases of people who have died soon after selling their houses to go into retirement.

Therefore it would be a good idea if people were to move to Cuddesdon, or nearby, well in advance of retirement age, do some voluntary work for us and perhaps join in on some of the smaller business projects, in anticipation of more full-scale involvement at a later stage.