The woes of ageing

As the hen said “Growing old is no yolk”.

You know when you’re growing old when every part of the body hurts, and what doesn’t hurt, doesn’t work. The gleam in your right eye is only the sunlight hitting your bifocals. You feel like the morning after, but you haven’t been anywhere.

Your little black book only contains names beginning with Dr. and you get out of breath just playing cards.

You enter a garden maze but can’t remember if you went in to cut flowers or to find your way out. Your children begin to look old.

A “dripping tap” gives you an uncontrollable urge! You know all the answers but no one asks the questions. You need glasses to look for your glasses. You turn out the lights in the bedroom for economy instead of romance.

You sit on a rocking chair but can’t make it rock. Your knees buckle but your belt won’t. Your house is too big but your medicine cabinet isn’t big enough. You sink your teeth in a steak and they stay there.

Your birthday cake collapses under the weight of the candles. You long to be young again but can’t remember why. The dog gets the lead and takes you out for a walk. Viagra only works on your shirt collars.

That’s what growing old is all about

Mr E Williams, Preston

Convert to sharing?Group of people at table

At this time of year our thoughts turn towards lonely people, rich and poor.

There are bereaved partners and single divorcees living in their now too large houses, isolated and facing excessive mortgages or rentals.

A happy solution is to convert their houses into two self-contained bedsits. My sister in Birmingham has done this with the aide of a grant. Now she has a tenant who provides both social and financial security.

Or why not convert a large house into bedsits with a communal lounge to provide extra companionship and income? An additional benefit is the work provided for local enterprising builders. So, don’t be sad and lonely, get advice and get converted – make it your New Year resolution!

M Jones, Wrexham

Do make sure that you have the relevant permissions for Building Regulations and planning. If you are having more than three tenants sharing you need HMO permission from the Council.


Volunteering benefits

I’m 83 and have been volunteering for over 50 years. I can’t remember why I decided to volunteer for the Samaritans, but it was both an enlightening and saddening experience. Some people seemed to have lives almost like a Greek tragedy and yet their spirit so often rose above their troubles. After training, I volunteered for seven years, mainly at weekends, providing what is known as ‘non-directive counselling’.

Did I help? I’ve no idea. I hope so, because it taught me something early in life that is so important: that forgiveness is the real way to inner peace (and in the end, you may even learn to forgive yourself).

Later I joined Community Service Volunteers and specifically, the Retired and Senior Volunteer Programme (RSVP), finding work for volunteers and helping people who wanted to start a charity of their own. That was interesting but time consuming and so I gave it up when it felt too much like the managerial job I’d retired from!

So, having rescued two dogs via Blue Cross, I joined their education department to give talks to children about choosing, taking care of, and staying safe around pets. I also give talks to adult groups about the history of fundraising at Blue Cross. I’m in my eighth year with them now – the kids and the adults are lovely. It’s still fun – and it needs to be; if you don’t enjoy your volunteering, you won’t do it very well. I reckon I’ve spoken to over 13,500 children and my dog has been petted by about 6,000 of them.

So I hope I’ve been of some use. Me? I’ve benefitted enormously.

Jon Westoby by email

Hear, hear!

I cannot thank the Mature Times enough for the wonderful support they have given me. I stood alone when I sent my original letter a year ago. As a result of your support I can now play an integral role in my community.

I now have an excellent piece of equipment called a “Roger Pen” which enables me to attend meetings etc. and hear the proceedings clearly. The audiology department at Bedford Hospital have approved the Pen, and I can recommend it to others with hearing difficulties. Bedford Borough Council Impairment Team has also been very supportive in my efforts to have a better quality of life.

I have now joined Hearing Link to campaign for loop systems in all public places. For advice and help concerning Loop systems contact Hearing Link, 0300 111 1113.

Ken Lynch by email

Small is beautiful

I would like to add my thanks and agreement to your comments about older people’s re-housing on page 12 of issue 282 Mature Times paper.

I have often asked councillors why we don’t have better smaller housing for older and disabled people so as to free up some of our bigger properties for families.

I myself would move to such a place if it was in Cosham (where I grew up) and if it was suitable for my disability. Cosham is just right for transport and other amenities, like the doctors. If you could bring about such a project, I am sure there would be many grateful older residents and families.

L Wallbridge, Portsmouth

Don’t be lonely

Loneliness is not just for Christmas. We have a club for the over 50s (some over 100!) which is open from 9.30 am to 3.30 pm, five days a week. We have between 200 – 300 members coming along every week. It is run by volunteers (even the committee are volunteers) and we are a registered charity. The club has saved my life and that of many of those who attend!

I think there should be such a club in every town. If you have lost a partner but have not got a lot of help or support, such groups provide company, support and activities to take your mind off your worries. It also helps to keep the elderly out of hospital for as long as possible.

You can start a club by getting together with a venue that could accommodate you – perhaps a local venue would like to attract more business in the daytime?

Maureen Stanton, Southend-on-Sea

Internet is dangerous

Office, laptop, switch accounts - Free for commercial use No attribution required credit - Credit PixabayI was delighted to read Mr R Morris’s letter – Internet, no thanks. (Nov/Dec 2015)

I, and a number of friends, do not have, and do not wish to have, anything to do with the Internet. It seems to me that it has developed into a dangerous, time wasting, out of control monster.

As well as all the obvious negative aspects of use of the Internet, it discourages people from living actively in the real world. It is probably at least partly responsible for obesity and for the apparent fall off in the number of people taking part in sports. Together with other associated electronic gadgets, is probably partly responsible for the number of people running into debt and needing to use food banks or finding it difficult to save for deposits for home purchase.

I would also suggest that it is quite wrong to encourage people to use the Internet to avoid Post Office queues (September). We should all support the Post office by using it as much as we can, irrespective of queues, or there will be more closures and we will then complain about that!

Rosemary P, Bristol