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Planning for old age can be depressing but leaving things to chance should never be considered a viable option

By Nina Steele 

Childless widowsReading the story of 104-year-old Daisy Staines reminded me of the story of another childless widow of similar age, who is still alive and well. Daisy Staines, who recently passed away, was featured in some of the newspapers, as a result of an appeal put out by the care home in which she had been a resident. The care home was asking anyone who might have known Daisy to attend her funeral, which took place on May 18, because she had outlived everyone in her family.

The similarities between Daisy’s story and that of the other centenarian in the Ivory Coast are many, including the care both women have been able to enjoy in old age. While Daisy was looked after in a care home, the other woman is being looked after by a relative. The common thread for both stories is that, both women took the necessary steps to ensure that they had the help they needed in old age. That help becomes even more crucial if like Daisy Staines, one ends up with an illness like dementia, which none of us can predict.

I do understand that the very idea of planning for old age is enough to put some people off, but equally, doing nothing is a risk not worth taking. Whether people turned up at Daisy’s funeral or not, the fact that she or the brother who predeceased her had the foresight to move her into a care home, has paid dividends, and I am not just talking about the care home staff being kind enough to put out the appeal as they have done. That she was able to still enjoy a good quality of life in spite of her illness, is not only heartening but also a reminder that, regardless of personal circumstance, old age can still be enjoyable.

Even if you end up being one of those old people, lucky enough to spend your last days in your own home, you will still have to have a care plan ready to kick in, should you ever need it. That care plan could be having a carer come in on regular days to help around the home or take you to hospital appointments, among other things. If your health and overall physical state is so good that you end up never needing to put that care plan into action, at least you will go about your daily life with the peace of mind of knowing that it’s there.

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