Recently Joe Biden has been mocked because he is the oldest person ever in US history to hold high office as President. If he wins the next election he will be 86 by the end of his time in the White House. They claim wisdom comes with age. Sadly so does arthritis, declining eyesight and slower reactions, to say nothing about our ability to formulate ideas in our head into swift coherent sentences. Despite these shortcomings those of us of a certain age still feel able to make valuable contributions to society.

Whilst Biden is ridiculed aged 80, Sir David Attenborough at 96 is revered as a national treasure. The late Queen was still working a day before she died. If the choice is to be between a veteran statesman and the lunatic Donald Trump then the decision is simple enough.

There are many examples of the value of older people in society. A recent project brought together old people and youngsters. They spent time together over a cup of tea to the mutual benefit of both parties. There are many examples of older people doing great things. Dame Judy Dench even with severe eyesight problems is still very active probably making a bucket full of money from her recent advertising activity. It is claimed that age is just a number. This is very true. It is just how we decide to deal with it that counts. Some people seem to be old before their time. Retirement can lead some to retreat into a passive lifestyle wrongly believing that their work is done. In contrast especially if you are fortunate to take early retirement with sufficient basic funds to finance a reasonable standard of living you can enjoy a wealth of lifestyle opportunities. My own experience has afforded opportunities to engage in things that were not possible whilst holding down a full time stressful job. After retirement from full time work I was able to do a variety of jobs selecting what gave me the most satisfaction. Teaching part time to adults returning in mid-life to gain a qualification to take evening classes was most rewarding. Seeing individuals eventually reaching their true potential was a joy.

Travel is something more possible with no full time job to attend to on a daily basis. It can be done outside normal holiday periods and for a longer period of time than the two week bucket and spade holidays of yesteryear. Gardening and painting were not on my agenda when in work. Now late in life I am fortunate to have a big greenhouse where I am attempting to grow a variety of vegetables. How successful I will be is in the lap of the gods. I find pencil drawing another relaxing and enjoyable hobby where previously time would not have made it possible. Writing my weekly column keeps my brain working if slower than in the past.

It seems important to live life to the full as long as possible. Voluntary work in the community, enjoying time with grandchildren and catching up with lifelong friends all add to a varied fulfilled life.

Perhaps the term ‘retirement’ is unhelpful. What actually is taking place is a change of focus. I admire many older people. The late Jimmy Carter worked tirelessly for peace long after leaving office. Dame Shirley Bassey can still belt out a song with great gusto.

The younger generation may well feel they know it all and us old folk are well past our sell by date. They would be very much mistaken to write us oldies off. There is still life left in the old dogs yet. Despite the odds we have even risen to the challenge of the computer age. We send emails and use Facetime much to the amazement of our children.

So please don’t write us off just yet.