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Beloved Old Age and What to Do About it: Margery Allingham's the Relay Paperback – 30 Jun 2016
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Top Customer Reviews
Ms Jones conveys the crises of old age with the striking image of ‘a shipwreck in slow motion’ and few of us need to be reminded of how challenging it must be to witness such a process at first hand. Indeed, Allingham warned that ‘the problem of old people was one which must be approached with more than haphazard goodwill’.
The subject is distressing and, even though there are plenty of tender, touching moments and even injections of humour by both writers, in essence this is an acceptance of some painful and inescapable truths, an analysis of the interactions between those suffering from the condition and their carers, and an attempt to propose approaches which see the whole process in a broader context. More than that, the perspectives of the two writers, separated by some fifty years, chart society’s changing attitudes to old age (as well as some which persist), and illustrate very starkly how much further we need to go not only in the provision of care but also in our understanding of the dynamics of the relationships involved.
Although she does refer to the specifics of her own situation as part of a caring solution, there is a deliberate detachment in Allingham’s account. She seeks to discard stereotypes and proposes structured relationships and solutions based on two-way processes.Read more ›
Uniquely in my experience, she writes of looking after one's own family oldies as a privilege, a vital part of the family, not just a duty or a burden, though she acknowledges the enormous stresses involved. So Margery and her sister set up a home for their mother, and two aunts, in a cottage over the road. Margery calls this a 'dower house' system which nowadays makes it all sound very posh and upper class, but she was referring to an old tradition whereby the older generation live out their days in a nearby house, with support from family. What we'd now perhaps call a 'granny annex' which is patronising rather than posh, not much of an improvement vocab-wise. With great honesty, she describes how to set up such a system - it's vital to have someone professional looking after them, a housekeeper/home help, to take some of the personal stress from family. I was much struck with the points she made, back then when almost everyone had servants who wasn't one, that this person's salary should be the largest part of the expenditure by far, and they should have adequate time off covered by family members.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Enjoyed this articulate narrative by someone who knows the reality of caring for a relative with dementia. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Liz Charalambous
As we all get older, the subject of this wonderful book becomes ever more pressing. I helped look after my mother until she died aged 87, and I'm now deeply involved in the life of... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Locksmith