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…
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?