Planning Elderly Mischief

eldery, elderly entertainment

When it comes to looking after the older members of our societies, Italy has it just right. Rather than being seen as an encumbrance, older members of the family are revered for their years of work, sacrifice and knowledge. In many areas around the world merging households with parents and other older relatives is something that happens often; I like this. We should cherish our elders, after all, without them there would be no us.

Roy and I were discussing our retirement plans the other day. We have a fair few years to go unless we win the lottery however these things should be planned or at least considered in advance. We talked about pensions, where we would live and so on. What this conversation did bring up was doubt about what social and entertainment facilities and opportunities are available for the elderly (we may have gone off topic a little by this point).

If you think about your local area, what is in place to entertain you or your family in their twilight years?

Retirement and Elderly Stage Fun

Personally, I’d like to volunteer when I retire. There are some fabulous organisations locally who offer befriending opportunities for those with a few hours spare to spend on something fulfilling for all involved. The idea of this appeals to me.

Our local library is entirely volunteer-run after the council withdrew a couple of years ago. Forty willing volunteers work to a rota to keep this valuable resource open for all and they have to fundraise tirelessly in order to pay for the library overheads. Once I’ve retired I’d very much like to take a volunteer place here.

What about when I’m a little older and perhaps don’t want to volunteer or visit regularly? How will I occupy my time and what will keep me busy and out of trouble? There are a number of factors to consider here. Transport is going to be a big thing for me. I don’t drive now and never have. I can navigate public transport fairly easily in order to get where I need to go. Will I want to walk to the train station or a long way to the nearest bus stop when a little older though? Bus services are being cut left, right and centre and the cost of rail travel is rising fast. I’m doubtful whether I’ll want to spend so much of my pension on travel alone.

Again, there are numerous sporting activities, befriending groups and social activities organised in our lovely rural town of Thirsk but what about elsewhere?

The more we discussed our plans, the more we realised that as a society we need to look at the way the elderly are treated in terms of community events, access, transport, affordability and more. I have grand plans for mischief and mayhem when older however I don’t want to work too hard to find ways to enjoy myself. Maybe we’ll move to Italy…

In Summary

I don’t think that hitting a certain age means you can no longer go to the cinema or means you are no longer able to be active, far from it! Did you know for example that over 25% of over 60s have watched Game of Thrones. That’s pretty hardcore viewing. Our elders don’t suddenly ditch fun and frolics for custard creams and comfy slippers. That’s a very inaccurate stereotypical view. What I would like to see more of, and now, are more opportunities for the elderly, more ways to get out and about, or enjoy time at home without too big a pinch on the purse. My concern is that after a certain age too many individuals who still have so much to offer are being put out to pasture.

What do you think? How do you see yourself enjoying your later years and what obstacles do you think might get in your way?

Time Out for Parents

time out

We only have two more sleeps until the boys finish for the summer holidays and I can’t wait. I love having them at home and dread the end of the holidays as they all-too-quickly approach. Time out as a family is important however time out for us as parents is something that shouldn’t be ignored or put aside either.

I once joked to friends when the children were younger that I could make a fortune if I were to open a small hotel exclusively set up for parents to take turns to come and relax and decompress for a night. Parenting can be demanding, as fabulous as it is, and sometimes time out for parents is a must.

Sadly I don’t own a small hotel and am not earning my early retirement from parents looking for some Peppa Pig time however if you are serious about taking some self-care time out for you, consider these ways to do it.

Use Your Annual Leave

Holidays are usually saved up to cover the school holidays and so on. What if for once, they weren’t? Try and take a day off just for you while children are at school or in childcare (or with a willing sitter) and just spend time on you. Roy and I started doing this years ago and we love it. We go out for lunch or breakfast, curl up and watch movies, go for a walk or similar. Nothing flash, nothing fancy, but something much needed and appreciated.

Find a Babysitter

A trusted babysitter is worth his or her weight in gold. Having someone who can look after your child/children so that you may go away for a night or even just an evening enables you to spend some time together as a couple or time out for yourself. Try and schedule some time out regularly, even if it’s just to get out of the work/home cycle for a few hours for a meal at a local restaurant.

Join a Club

Go to karate, join a Dungeons and Dragons RPG group or find a fun book club. Find something that takes you away from home for a few hours, enables you to spend time doing something you love with people you like. Again, dedicating that little bit of self-care for yourself is something you should do and something you deserve.

Relax on a Cruise Holiday

This takes my parent hotel idea and cranks it up a notch or ten. We have plans when the boys are older to get out there and enjoy more us time. More than an evening or a night away (we haven’t done a night away together for them yet and the eldest is twelve, we must try harder). Whether we go for a tour de Britain in a campervan or decide on something more luxurious such as a cruise holiday, time will tell.

Get Others on Board

Finding a sitter, finding the time (and the energy) to organise a night out and then going through the motions of getting dressed, packed and so on is often what puts parents off and results in another cancelled night out. It’s tiring being a parent and doing all the other things that adults need to do. Enlist other parents who understand the problem on board, meet up together or babysit for each other. Be accountable for each other and make sure no-one cancels their valuable night or day out without very good cause!

As parents we do an important job. It’s the worst-paid job imaginable, the hours are terrible and our managers can be harsh. That said, we wouldn’t change it for the world. As long as we take the time to recharge our own batteries from time to time, we’ll hopefully all come out of the parenting experience intact.

 

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