Die letters on depression in older people (9 Julie), especially David Head’s, touched me personally. I am an 89-year-old widow living alone, with my children overseas, siblings dead, and other relatives out of reach. I do not have dementia.
Mr Head’s words about older people “no longer finding much pleasure in the things they used to enjoy” worried me. We need to find new things to enjoy. It has depressed me how many people were surprised that I watched Euro 2020. Why?
I’ve discovered how to record early-morning gems such as operas from Sydney Harbour, and tomorrow I’m starting lessons on how to use my late husband’s iPad.
When I can no longer get out unaided, this is the kind of help I hope for: friends who’ll pick up bright new things for me to wear from the charity shops, make sure that when the rugby starts I have a bottle of San Mig and a bag of crisps every weekend, tell me about new books they’ve read (and lend them to me), and ask about my adventures (I’ve caught a fish from the African Queen and seen Mount Everest).
Mr Head’s final words sum it up well: don’t treat old people as wallpaper. We’ve learned a lot the hard way, and the most important lesson of all is that life is for living. I thank God for it every day.