When we are young and carefree, none of us really look towards getting to our twilight years, because we think it’s way off in the distance and we won’t really get old. Getting old is for old people. Then we get past our forties and start wondering how it went by so fast and how on earth did we get to this stage, we seem to be catching up with the ‘Old People’. So then we get another decade on and we have to seriously think about our future and the fact that we won’t always be young and carefree, and may need someone to help us, look after us or may even have to take care of our every need due to health and mobility issues.
I have spoken to 3 different people from 3 different living situations, that have come from different backgrounds. No big questions or revelations – just how they see life now they are having to be cared for in some way in their older years.
I had a great life – wonderful career travelling the world and meeting people, money wasn’t an obstacle, though I never had children. I settled in to my retirement in my lovely home, got to my late eighties and it was discovered I had a degenerative eye disease and was going blind. Along with the usual aches and pains and a couple of falls, I was advised by my GP and friends to consider moving somewhere where I would have care and round the clock security as my home is in a pretty remote area, and on a steep hill. I duly sold up and moved to a retirement village. Now I am not going to say it’s the worst move I ever made, or the best, but I came to realise that I really couldn’t stay in my own home and that hurt badly. I have good days and bad days. My little place is just that. Small. But easier to memorise now that my eyes are really bad. I know if I have a fall there will be someone there to help pretty quickly. Though I get fed up of someone popping in every day to ‘check’ on me. Sometimes I just want to say ‘bugger off’ and leave me in peace. Today was a bad day.
I had a stroke 2 years ago that left me with a lot of mobility problems. My walking is slow and talking slower. I live in a rest home with my husband. He insisted we move here, he just couldn’t look after me. He was always used to having everything done for him, cooking , cleaning , laundry etc. He likes it here, cooked meals, laundry done, member of the bowls team. I don’t know if I hate it or just hate what has happened to me.
When my husband died I wanted to be amongst people. We were farmers, I couldn’t run the farm by myself so I passed it on to the family and happily moved into a retirement village. I knew my family would be busy running the business and wouldn’t have time to look after me, besides I wanted company my own age. I have made lots of friends, go on the outings, do art and craft projects and joined yoga classes. People ask me why I moved here as I am pretty fit and healthy for my age – but why not? I have everything I need here and I feel safe, It’s a new life for me and I don’t regret leaving the old one.