Jim Dougal


“AS you get older, old age seems further away,” says 65-year-old veteran broadcaster Jim Dougal.

And indeed if there was ever somebody who seems almost immune to the onslaught of the ageing process it would be him; he’s still working in television and running his media training company, Dougal Media.

He has also battled cancer twice and lived to tell the tale. Having been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2002, looking after one’s health is an issue close to Jim’s heart.

“It really annoys me when I hear people talking about National Health Service cuts because most people, in particular as they get older, depend on the NHS a lot,” he said.

“These (NHS staff) are thepeople without whom we would not be here.”

Interestingly - although he hastens to point out he hasn’t been affected by it himself - ageism is one issue Jim believes faces older people today. And working in the media has made him aware of some significant issues affecting older people including like poverty.

“It really annoys me when I think about these people who have worked all their lives and are just left like this,” he said.

On the flip side, he believes one of the gifts of getting on in years is precious time spent with grandchildren. And he says that watching his own three - aged four, one and seven weeks - is “absolutely superb”.

Article by Laura Murphy. Originally published as 'Pensioners facing perils and challenges in the 21st century', Belfast News Letter 04 May 2010.

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