Sitting in a small out-of-town coffee house, I’m listening to the conversation of four ladies. They’re discussing their husbands, The Great British Bake Off and their issues with ever-changing technology.
I shouldn’t really be listening, I know, but there is something refreshing about it.
Maybe I’ve realised that growing old doesn’t mean you have to slip on your slacks and watch antique shows back to back.
I might even envy them a little for their enthusiasm.
Spending the past five years taking care of my two elderly grandmothers who are much frailer now than I ever remember, it is difficult to accept ageing as an unavoidable process.
It’s cruel, unrelenting and doesn’t stop until it has reduced the ones we love to skin and bone, leaving those in the grips of it with a childish helplessness, docility and humiliation.
It breaks my heart to see the elderly waste away with such rapidity.
What about a social life- a meaning, a focus.
This appears to phase out of the lives of the elderly.
These ladies must be in their seventies, perhaps a little younger, but they have energy, laughter and smiles on their creased faces.
Their complexions show the strain of a life rearing children (all bar one have three children), of travelling and of work, but they still radiate youthfulness and a zest for life.
My time writing for a local newspaper has made me realise, through research for stories and last minute copy, that so much happens in our communities, so many hidden societies of artists, florists, choirs, bakers and writers are housed behind the doors of our churches, schools and halls, and most of us are completely unaware.
So much togetherness and opportunity to better oneself is offered by the people that we live alongside.
It is just a shame that we don’t take advantage of these activities as a way to meet our neighbours, inspire others and develop into something wonderful ourselves.
Perhaps by observing people around us and picking up on the fact that the elderly citizens in our country appear to fade into the corners of society, we can change this and help some of the loneliest people in our community make the most of life post-retirement.
For more information on the services on offer in your area, visit www.ageuk.org.uk.