In November I attended the Gerontological Society of America (http://www.liv.ac.uk/~kmb/pubs.html) meeting in New Orleans. I came away feeling irritated to say the least. At least one issue was to blame. There was a strong focus on how to intervene, as if all aspects of ageing were to be cured. Ageing per se is not a medical problem; it is a normal aspect of life. We all age, some of us more easily than others. Accompanying increased age there may be problems, medical, social, functional, which we may want help with: where intervention is wanted. But do we really want to treat ageing, and the changes that accompany it, as a disease to be cured? I learnt this early on in my research with widowed people. My interviewees were quite clear that bereavement and widowhood were obviously not pleasant experiences but they were normal, commonplace even. Most of my participants did not want, or need, intervention or specialised support because their experiences were part of being human (http://www.liv.ac.uk/~kmb/pubs.html). It would be strange if losing a life long partner did not lead to sadness, for example. There were those who felt the need for more specialised support, and on the whole received it. My point is that we need to distinguish between the normal, everyday processes of ageing which are commonplace, and the problematic aspects of ageing where we can intervene and make life better. We should also take the lead from older people themselves who can (for the most part) decide for themselves whether or not they would like help.