We no longer care for sentimental trinkets, Joan Bakewell says

The baroness, who turns 80 this week, said that younger generations no longer write letters, and have no interest in the family heirlooms which the elderly obsess over in their wills.

Rather than as becoming fixated on their legacy, Lady Bakewell said, pensioners should accept the Government’s “death tax” and pay for their own care out of what they plan to leave behind for their children.

The idea which was much mocked when it was introduced is, the labour peer claims, a “sensible” one.

“Why should people demand the state pick up the bill for caring for them in their old age and at the same time expect to leave small fortunes to their children?” the much–loved broadcaster asked.

As the former official Voice of the Older Person under Gordon Brown, it is not the first time she has tackled the subject of her advancing years.

Writing in the Radio Times today she said that at 80 there are two states of mind – some spend their time looking back pondering how things could have been different, whilst others “brood” on what they are leaving behind.

“People care passionately about their legacy. As they get older, they consider how their worldly goods will be disposed of,” she wrote.

“They make wills and remake them, juggling bequests according to whom is in or out of favour. And what of all those trinkets to be disposed of: granddad’s gold clock, grandma’s silver locket.

“What of the cache of letters you have squirreled away. Current generations don’t write letters much these days. But I have letters from uncles serving in the war; I have poignant letters of teenage love and longing. Who will want any of it and why should I care”

Lady Bakewell said both states of mind provoke anxiety and as she faces becoming an octogenarian she avoids regret by focusing on the “here and now” – enjoying the sunset in the morning not worrying what the day will bring.

Her comments, ahead of the Joan Bakewell Evening on BBC4 on Sunday, come as a study found that British workers no longer put pen to paper.

Instead the average worker sends and receives 40 emails a day, with one in 12 working their inbox into overdrive with 100 plus daily emails.

Meanwhile one in five never put pen to paper, one in ten say they never make phone calls and 48 percent never post a letter, according to a study by Warwick Business School.

Over the past 60 years we have become reliant on technology, and now more than 10 percent spend the whole day on a computer or a mobile phone and one in four don’t remember life before email.

This article was originally written by Hayley Dixon of The Telegraph.