I read (well, skimmed) an article the other day: pensionsers should learn to go online, as it will combat loneliness. Underneath it lay three assumptions: pensioners are lonely, they need specific encouragement to join in with digital playing, and that younger people know what is best for them.
What springs to mind when you read the word 'pensioners'? Grannies by the fireside? Granddads with zimmer frames? Grandmas dribbling into their cocoa? Grandpas with holes in their slippers? The woman next door who helps in the charity shop on Monday, meals on wheels on Tuesday (she has to finish early to fetch grandchildren from school), does a language class on Wednesday, yoga on Thursday and organises transport for the local Day Centre on Friday? (She relaxes with wine at the weekend!)
Last time you had to fill in a form that gave you boxes for your age - did you notice the divisions - under 25, 26-35, 36-45, 46-55, 56-65 - and over 65.
This presumes that men and women over 65 have needs and ideas in common. I'm not quite there yet - but am preparing for the scrap.
I accept that ideas, interests, abilities and energy changes over a lifetime. Thank goodness it does - it means we can continue to surprise ourselves. But the implication that all that stops at 65 is so obviously false that such short-cut-boxes serve only to infuriate rather than to clarify the glorious differences of people at various stages of their lives.
So, going back to the article that set me off, how about acknowledging that loneliness is not the prerogative of the over 65s but can happen at any stage of life. That individuals can, unless seriously ill or with disabilities that make thinking impossible, make their own decisions about what they need - which may or may not involve computers.
And - vitally - to realise that pensioners come in as many shapes, sizes, colours and abilities as the rest of the population. And we can - and do - think for ourselves!