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Elderly . . . and not in the market for bingo

04 July 2014


From Miss Primrose Peacock,

Sir, - I have recently investigated options for the time when I have to move. I have visited several care homes, Church-run and secular. Most of them offer unwanted "activities" built into the charges.

While I agree almost wholeheartedly with the articles by Huw Spanner (Features, 27 June) and Paul Donovan (Comment, same issue), there is one aspect of elderly life which appears to be ignored. It is the assumption that all elderly people have banal interests such as bingo, sing-songs, or being taken to feed the ducks.

One local care home offers holy communion (Methodist) or bingo with fish and chips on Fridays. Privately owned establishments may focus on golf, bridge, bowls, or jacuzzi - at a price.

None of them recognises that there also elderly people whose interests are intellectual, academic, or a specialist subject such as philately or horticulture. Others may like to discuss non-fiction books, classical music, or Radio 4. There is a tendency to patronise elderly people who are not mentally impaired.

Several people have told me that home visits by prior appointment from someone with compatible interests, or a reciprocal invitation to coffee or tea in daylight, would be welcomed.

I am not too surprised that there was no response to my letter (23 May) regarding a suggestion for cash-strapped retreat houses to offer quiet gatherings with a cup of tea.

4 Crescent Rise

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