...the voice of pensioners

Another way that shopping can be a therapy…

25 Mar 2020

Dear LPG,


I visit a neighbour that I have watched over for the past five years as his mobility has deteriorated.  When I first got to know him he was able to go and come as he pleased, and he would pop over to my house as often as I popped over to his.  We would often sit down over a bit of cake or a biscuit (washed down with a cup, or two, of tea) and put the world to rights, and he always had something interesting to tell me about the subject of conversation that had cropped up at the day centre that he used to frequent, but now he can only leave his flat with a lot of help, a wheelchair and the help of someone else which doesn’t happen very often.


He does have family but not living locally and so he depends on professional carers for his day to day needs.  I think that the service is getting better after years of really bad reports about the way that people in his situation can find themselves abused.  My neighbour is one of the many older people who is in full possession of his faculties which makes his confinement all the more upsetting for him to suffer and me to observe.  There is no doubt about the fact that his physical limitations have dictated that his daily routine has been severely disrupted and that does take a toll on your state of mind.


It is also fact that because his thoughts, (that were so diverse) have been limited by his new physical circumstances, the little things that he does have some control over become so much bigger in his agenda of importance, he notices the little things that so many don’t even give a second thought to.


He has been telling me that when he sends his carers shopping, he is often disappointed with their version of what he asks them to buy and he is also often not sure that his change is right which has become one of these major worries because of his altering physical circumstances. 


For the want of something else to talk about during my visits I decided to do a bit of financial reconciliation with him so that we could check if his suspicions were founded.   But there lies the problem; he knows how much he has given them but never checked the bills or even asked to see them anymore. 


Things are not half as bad as they seemed now that we are making a point of saving the bills and working out what the carer bought and what he would have chosen; I use my mobile phone to help him look at the prices and brands that he would prefer. 


This practice has given us something meaningful to talk about again when I visit and although we are only talking about groceries for a great deal of the time, the subject has given him something new to sink his mental teeth into and helped him to have a little more confidence in his carers and the control he has over his own life choices.



NH, Brockley