Saturday, 10 December 2011

Britain was no country for a young broadcaster called Richard Hammond who became an old man for a day

Richard Hammond is a 42 year old tv broadcaster, best known as a co-presenter on 'Top Gear', six years ago, however, he made a programme called 'Should I Worry About Ageing?' It was based on the premise that : We live in an age that is obsessed with youth culture, so the prospect of ageing fills us with fear. Should we worry about ageing?

In preparation for the progamme Richard :

* had his face aged with prosthetics with a 'facial anthropologist' describe to him the physical changes of the face as we age including hollowing around the cheeks and eyes.

He then experienced the social aspects of ageing when he :

* spent 8 hours seeing the world through the eyes of an old man and seeing how the world saw him.
* had to take care crossing the road.
* walked down the edges, not the middle of pavements.

Said : "By the end of the day, I felt very lonely and very sad and almost completely invisible".

I know how Richard felt. My first post on this blog in May 2009 was called 'Invisible at a petrol station'.

Richard also experienced the physical aspect of ageing and loss of mobility by wearing a 'restricted mobility suit' which only allowed him to move as a 70-75 year old. He learnt that suits like this were used during the construction of buildings and hospitals in particular, so they can measure how they might be used by old people.

The suit :

* had buttons on soles of the feet because 8 million people in Britain over 45 suffer from arthritis and its first manifestation is discomfort in soles of the feet.

* simulated the degeneration of the joints : the knees, hips, torso and neck.

Apparently, as a result of what he had been through Richard developed a new admiration and respect for the over-60s. Unfortunately that respect is shared by only a very few in Britain today.

P.S. The car crash in which the remarkable Richard nearly lost his life :

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