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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Older people have mental health problems too

Last week, during a routine trip to the GP, my mum was refused the sleeping pills she’s come to rely to get a night’s rest. ‘Good’, I secretly thought. Maybe someone might suggest other ways of addressing the insomnia – and the anxiety and depression – that blight her nights and days. Because older people get depressed too, and although rarely offered, talking therapies could make a world of difference. Continue reading →

valentine's day bear

An anti-valentine’s manifesto

Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us – possibly the most nauseating festival in the canon of pointless annual events we’re expected to buy into with such enthusiasm.

My objection to Valentines Day is that it’s just a bit … icky.  If you’re single you’re made to feel like battening down the hatches. But if you’re in a long-term relationship it’s a little weird too.

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blue tit as seen in my big garden birdwatch

The restorative power of birds

Yesterday saw me taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch. It’s the RSPB‘s annual audit of Britain’s feathered friends, undertaken by half a million people with an interest in wildlife and an hour to spare. I’ve never considered myself a proper birdwatcher, but these fascinating creatures certainly have a place in my life – connecting me with nature and bringing a little bit of calm to a stressful world.

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Home maintenance and older people

Older people and the tyranny of home maintenance

I’m awaiting a call from an electrician about a few minor jobs in my mum’s decaying home. I’m hoping that (a) he will call back, (b) he will agree to do these paltry items of work, and (c) he will decide to not rip us off, excessively. Because of all the things that trouble my mum, jobs around the house are the most distressing – for her and me.

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