Feeling the squeeze

Call us squeezed, call us sandwiched, call us what you like but there’s no escaping us – a generation of 40 and 50+ (women mainly) struggling under the competing demands of children and elderly parents.

People are living longer. Once 70 was called a ‘good innings’ but now it’s more like 90 or even 100; bringing with it all the baggage of old age – loneliness, ill-health, dementia, disability.

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How Count Arthur Strong cured my baby blues

He didn’t actually. But during those dark days of December 2006, when my daughter was just a few weeks old, I discovered Count Arthur Strong’s Radio Show on BBC Radio 4 and laughed out loud for the first time in ages.

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All the things I’ll never do …

And some I might get round to after all

At some point in my 40s I started to see my future as finite. It wasn’t that I’d had a premonition or that I was being overly maudlin. I just got the sense that time might be running out and there were things I’d probably never do: live in Scandinavia, take cocaine, got to a karaoke bar, understand physics or have a skiing holiday.

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On wondering – really, who cares?

Whenever, as frequently happens, a politician or tabloid headline berates the lack of family involvement in older people’s care, something in me dies a little. Because to a large extent I think they are right. Wouldn’t it be great if every UK family did what happens elsewhere in the world and stepped in to look after their ageing parents?

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