Baroness May Blood

Baroness May Blood - photo by John Harrison

As someone who lives by herself, Baroness May Blood can empathise with older people who are concerned that they might not be able to - or afford to - look after themselves the longer they live.

Baroness Blood, who turns 72 next month, said the issue she personally received the most calls about from older people was their worries as to “whether they’ll be able to heat their homes in the winter”.

She said: “The other issue, of course, would be safety in their own homes. I know the PSNI keeps telling us that crime is going down, but older
people still feel very vulnerable.

“If I’m at home, I wouldn’t open my door after 9.30pm - if someone knocks it I make them identify themselves.

“There’s so much talk about drugs and anti-social behaviour, I think older people get it into their heads that it’s going to happen in their street, and then if there’s a couple of kids mucking about they think it’s going to develop into something like that.”

However she said funding initiatives like that invested in areas by the National Lottery had helped bridge the divide between young and old.

“I think they are mixing now, and younger people have a better understanding of older people, and older people are slowly coming to understand that younger people aren’t all they think they are.”

Article by Laura Murphy. Originally published as 'Pensioners facing perils and challenges in the 21st century', Belfast News Letter 04 May 2010.

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