Growing problem with the elderly

Following a week of observation, experience and reflection, I read in the Sidmouth Herald, a very sad report of the death of an elderly lady from Budleigh Salterton who killed herself by drinking World War Two chemical cyanide.

She lived alone following the death of her husband, who had been a wartime spy, and the death of family members and her dog.

I felt deeply moved by this story about someone just a generation away from myself.

It stimulated discussion among friends about common attitudes around people growing old and led to wondering about the difficulties of knowing how to relate to this new phenomenon of a large ageing population.

It may be easier to forget the kind of world that 80 and 90-year-olds come from and all the richness of living through so many years. It was also in this week that I saw the film The Railway Man.

The same edition of the paper had on the front page the idea of a hotline for the vulnerable elderly, and inside, a headline stating ‘Elderly alarm cutback’. So many confusions and mixed messages. What do you think?

Mary Ferris

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