A NEW report says that 20 years from now there may well be more than 62,000 elderly people in Swindon.

The borough council is calling on everybody likely to fit into that category to live as healthily as possible, as that will make us happier and make fewer demands of the social care system.

That’s okay as far as it goes, but I prefer to think of myself as a potential valuable resource rather than a potential drain on the funds coughed up by younger taxpayers once I reach my senior years.

With 60,000 or more of us likely to be around by the end of the 2030s, there’ll be plenty of opportunities for businesses to tap into our specialist needs, make millions of pounds, fill the coffers of the Inland Revenue and keep the entire system ticking over nicely.

Anybody making and selling boiled sweets in tins, for example, will make a killing.

As everybody knows, there’s some sort of national law which says that on reaching a certain age one must have no less than three tins of boiled sweets on one’s premises.

Of these, at least one tin must contain sweets of a weird and obscure old-fashioned flavour, such as loganberry and onion, while at least one other tin must have been kept near a heat source until all the sweets became welded together.

I’ve been getting ready for my own senior years by laying in a stock of boiled sweets in tins, but can usually only find them in motorway service stations, next to 1980s compilation CDs and motivational books for travelling salespeople.

Anybody setting up a boiled-sweets-in-tins shop in town once we middle-aged folk become older will surely be a millionaire within months.

The same goes for anybody selling trilby hats for men or those hats for women which look a bit like walnut whips. When the time comes for my generation to begin driving on motorways and A-roads at no more than 40 miles per hour, preferably while tutting at anybody aged under 35 who zooms past, we’ll need the traditional headgear associated with such activities.

“Young people today are in too much of a hurry,” we’ll say.

There are other businesses certain of success once my generation becomes a small army of older folk. I’m even thinking of starting one myself, a chain of shops called ‘What the..?’

This would sell a variety of items for its clientele to give as gifts for Christmas, birthdays and similar occasions.

Stock would include bizarre and perhaps frightening ornaments, sweaters in colours not previously thought to exist on the visible spectrum, plush toys of characters from films and cartoons never seen in this country or possibly even in this dimension, music in formats that haven’t existed since 1975 and so on.

Then, when present-opening time comes, older people will be able to relish, as is traditional, that flicker of confusion on the recipient’s face as they think: “What the..?” Naturally, the shop will not give receipts, so the people who receive the gifts will be unable to return them for a refund.

Instead they’ll be obliged to wear them, display them or use them conspicuously when we visit in the future.

“Oh yes,” they’ll have to tell us, “this tripe rack is just the thing for when we decide to tuck into a nice big plate of...errr...bits of stomach dipped in vinegar.

“It’s nearly as useful as the rotary giblet extractor you gave us last Christmas.”

If they don’t, we’ll just have to mention how we were reading a leaflet about making bequests to the local cat sanctuary.