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FOREWORD


Foreword and acknowledgements


I clearly recall the discussion that led to the writing of this Guide. Six of us had just been appointed to McCarthy & Stone’s Greater Life Advisory Board and we were asked to come up with ideas on tackling the negativity and inertia that surrounds planning for later life. As six professionals aged from 57 to 75, and still working, mostly, we wanted to use our backgrounds to re-imagine ageing in a way that could help more people experience a greater later life.


Polls showed that a major difficulty for older people was simply talking about their concerns about ageing with loved ones, or an embarrassment in asking for help, as well as a dearth of appropriate information. Similar issues were also faced by their loved ones when trying to offer their support.


The problems are familiar. When is it best to downsize? Can I continue to work and be active after retirement? How do I find an extra income if needed? Where do I go to when I need more care and support? And of course, what does the future have in store for me?


Without good answers to these questions, even sensible people often struggle on until it gets a bit too late. Later life presents challenges in itself, but our inability to face up to them makes it an immensely more difficult period than it needs to be.


And so we felt an accessible, open and friendly book would provide an introduction to many of these issues. We do not pretend that it has all the answers, nor does it cover every topic, but we hope it will help some older people and their families open up and start to tackle these ‘challenging conversations’.


Each Board member has written one chapter, and we are delighted to have had the support and involvement from many highly respected and qualified people to complete the Guide. We thank them for their support and advice.


Later life should be a time for enjoying friends, family and pleasures old and new. With a bit of planning and appropriate help when needed, we can all make the most of it.


Edwina Currie, on behalf of McCarthy & Stone’s Greater Life Advisory Board 4


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