There is not enough practical support available for elderly people who choose to live in their own homes – according to an 87-year-old Lancing woman.
Beryl Bailey, who lives alone in a flat in North Road, describes her life as ‘a constant struggle’ and is calling for more investment in services for elderly people.
“It would help make people’s last few years not quite as miserable,” she said.
“We save the country thousands by not going into homes.”
Beryl, a Lancing resident of 17 years, is keen to retain her independence.
But she admits: “I can see why people give up the struggle and go into a care home.”
With no children or remaining family, Beryl said she lacks practical, hands-on help, such as with shopping and picking up her medication – as her arterial problems mean walking for too long is ‘agony’.
Additionally, since her long-term boyfriend Rod passed away from cancer two years ago, she has been left feeling ‘absolutely isolated’.
Beryl – a former teacher, who taught at South Lancing primary school, and a writer, whose articles on Victorian china have appeared in magazines such as Country Life – said she missed the intellectual stimulation she had with Rod, with whom she spent nine years.
Her only company is a visitor from the charity Time To Talk, who visits every fortnight.
Beryl said: “She’s very nice, I like talking to her.
A spokesman from West Sussex County Council said: “We assess and provide a range of services to people of all ages in the county.
“We also work with a number of partners to provide services to help support many older people to remain independent within their own homes.
“For example, Guild Care provides a shopping service in Lancing which is subsidised by the council.
“We constantly review the work we do with partners to ensure the right type of services are provided for people in the most effective way.
“We are committed to supporting older people to remain independent in their own homes for as long as possible and we will continue to commission services that assist us to do this.
“If anyone would like to talk to us about the services they are receiving or their care needs they can contact the council on 01243 642121.”