Mary’s Silver Service

Mary’s Silver Service

The recent Channel 4 programme “Mary’s Silver Service” highlighted the deployment of the dormant skills of retired people. Mary Porter’s unique Employment Agency for retired artisans from every walk of life was not only interesting but also thought provoking. It seems to run in tandem with an, albeit muted, political promotion of encouraging employers to engage more retired workers.

These three programmes demonstrated that:

1) There is still room in the workplace for their services and skills.

2) Many employers do, in fact, often prefer retirement age workers because, dare one say it, of their pre-benefits ethos of work-ethics.

That said, what is the downside of the Government’s and Mary Porter’s “Silver Service Agency” promotion of those in their 70s and 80s re-entering the workplace?

With so many younger people seeking employment or anxious to re-enter the work place after being made redundant during the depression years, enabling them to provide for themselves and/ or their families, it seems that this “Silver Service” of employing Pensioners poses not only practical but also ethical questions; especially when the number of suicides by those consistently unable to find re-employment continues to rise. It’s not an easy question to answer when many facts come into play.

Last month MT ran two articles about loneliness in old age. Reading both of them with interest I confess that the articles, though interesting, were only partially useful. Not everyone can afford, wants to or can cope with Computer technology. The second article unintentionally provided a direct link with the Channel 4 Programme.

The number of voluntary and professional organisation already supplying all manner of social, cultural, health enhancing services are too numerous to mention; each of them would be delighted to welcome able Volunteers, willing to employ their experiences and skills, both practical and theoretical, to enable them to increasing their service provision to both the able bodied and the housebound. To become thus involved would keep skills alive, banish loneliness and serve the Community as a whole. What more could you want when you are “old but still fit and able?”

The biggest cause of a lonely old age, apart from physical disabilities, is the lack of public transport, enabling people to travel from rural or fringe areas of towns/cities to the many life enhancing events already on offer. That’s the REAL cause of loneliness.

What is your view on “Mary’s Silver Service” and the points it raised with me?

by Angela Mayet