The Old Man and the Pea


I was supposed to be doing my art treat with artist, Claire Jackson, this week but I’ve had to postpone it. Hopefully this delay won’t be for more than a few weeks as it’s something I’m keen to do. But the reason for the change is that life has intervened in an unexpected way and suddenly I have new responsibilities to navigate. An elderly gentleman named Frank has come to live with me.

There is plenty of disagreement about the age at which someone becomes old and even more so about when they become elderly. In order to be eligible to be treated by a geriatrician you need to be at least 65. But whether someone is ‘elderly’ or not is largely dependent on whether they have health problems. However, in the case of my new housemate, Frank, there is no room for doubt. He is 95 and that is pretty old. When he was born in 1920 only half of male babies could expect to live beyond the age of 64.

Frank grew up in Walsall in the Midlands but in 1948 he emigrated to South Africa with his wife, and together they raised their family there. Eventually he was widowed and for the past few years he’s been living in a care home in Johannesburg. Although he didn’t complain, it was clear that he would love to end his days in England so that is why he has come to live in my house. And he’s not just any old 95-year old gentleman. Continue reading