Look At It with Jacqueline Morley - July 1, 2011

I’m not looking forward to being a pensioner. Blame it on the fact I turned 55 this week. When a local priest turned up in Gazette reception I assumed he was there to give me the Last Rites. Instead he gave me a bottle of bubbly. Hallelujah!

God may move in mysterious ways but health state nannies would probably tick his Son off for turning water into wine – having just issued an edict curbing the amount of alcohol we drink as we grow older. And that was after reports of doctors prescribing water to prevent elderly patients dehydrating in hospitals.

Spoilsports from the Royal College of Psychiatrists reckon too many of our more senior citizens use booze as a “coping mechanism.” Darn right, we do. You’re damned if you stay at home, as a new report says lack of care provided there breaches human rights, and damned if you don’t, as there’s a chance you’ll be left marinating in your own urine waiting for a bedpan to arrive in some hospitals or care homes.

To add insult to injury, the Government’s upped my projected retirement age twice, first from 60 to 65, and now to 66, which brings out the Mark of the Beast in me.

By the time the Coalition collapses under the weight of its own arrogance or ineptitude, I reckon I will be asking B&Q if they still have a policy of recruiting mature workers in order to work until I’m 70. Just don’t ask me to do any heavy lifting of insulation rolls or to prune your drooping clematis.

If the prospect (and I use that term loosely) of working till I drop isn’t enough to drive me to the demon drink brink, what will? I’m thinking of taking up smoking, or extreme sports, or even smoking while I attempt extreme sports, to reduce my allotted span on earth.

All the fun is going out of life. Look at the teachers and public sector workers protesting about pensions. At least theirs should be in five figures. I’m saving what’s left of mine for a last blast holiday to Switzerland – to find the express check-out for checking out there.

If this all sounds a bit bleak, forgive me, for it only hurts when I laugh. And, boy, did I chuckle at learning older patients in the day centre of a Welsh infirmary had been issued with a tambourine to summon nursing help. Even when they rattled out The Old Rugged Cross and Why, Why, Why, Delilah, nobody came.

Good exercise, though.

Not that it’s a laughing matter.

Take the 4,000 GP appointments cancelled by a group practice being delayed in moving into the new £15m Moor Park Primary Centre.

Some patients face their fourth appointment. If I was one, I’d be busking at the front door singing Hey Mr Tambourine Man Send a Doc to Me, I’m Not Sleepy and There’s No Place I am Going To.

With any luck Salvationists might hear, take pity, and pack me off to the Priory. But I’m not holding my breath...