Is where YOU live a good place to grow old?
I'm grateful to writer and Anglican priest, the Revd Peter Crumpler for drawing my attention to an article he's just written for a new local paper.
'I wrote the article for our new independent local publication, the www.stalbanstimes.co.uk with much help from our super Anna Chaplain, Maggie Dodd' he says. 'I thought you may be interested - it’s a growing issue, of course, and definitely not limited to Hertfordshire!'
If you don't live in or around St Albans to get hold of a paper copy, you'll find the full piece on p.35 of the latest issue- No 30, dated August 11.
Peter speaks about the marginalisation of older people as we switch away from cash and customer care from real people... to more and more ways of using technology to organise our lives.
From banking to parking, from accessing healthcare to buying a train ticket, if you don't have a smartphone or computer life is becoming increasingly complicated (if not downright impossible) and it's leaving many people in their later years sidelined.
Fortunately for the people of St Albans, the city has a full-time, paid, Anna Chaplain (the only such one in the country). She's Maggie Dodd whom Peter mentions.
Maggie is intent on building a bigger team to support her work but it's still only a small step in the right direction given the scale of need for spiritual and emotional support for older people.
Meanwhile, Tina English, director of Embracing Age (and Care Home Friends) wrote a book called A Great Place to Grow Old - Re-imagining ministry among older people (Darton, Longmand and Todd, 2021).
It features Anna Chaplaincy, among a number of other initiatives to enhance the quality of life for people post-retirement.
Reviewing it when first published, I said:
'The time is so ripe for this book. It's super-accessible and I can hear Tina speaking as she guides us through practical, imaginative, ways to support and learn from older people.
She's longing to see everyone enjoy life in all its fullness.'