I want to take a look at some of the problems that elderly and disabled people face when they live outside of the city and the areas need not necessarily be very remote to begin to cause problems for those with mobility issues.
Many of the things we take for granted are not as widely available as you move into the countryside. Banks are city based, local shops and post offices are closing at an alarming rate and even the local pubs are suffering and unable to stay open. It is easy to suddenly find that all the amenities that were taken for granted are no longer available without access to a good transport system
Bus services where available are often less frequent and available in rural areas and they are also one of the first things to be cut when finances are tight. The weather can also cause havoc and council bus services need to be considered unreliable. When people first move they often still drive and getting around is not to difficult but things can soon change, being widowed often means losing the driver in the family and with the onset of age you may even find that you ability to drive has deteriorated to the point where you need to stop.
Many rural houses are older and require a great deal more maintenance than new city built properties. That picture postcard cottage may have great curb appeal but inside it can be harder and more expensive to heat, need costly modernisation and require regular ongoing maintenance. Inside the houses can be crooked with uneven floors and steep narrow steps, as you become older simple devices such as stair lifts that can be fitted to modern houses are not compatible with older staircase designs.
Our technologically connected world means we are growing ever more reliant on internet services and mobile phones. From booking doctors appointments to video calls to distant family members our lives are becoming increasingly integrated with the digital world. But what if there was no internet available and your mobile phone could not get a signal? Rural areas are the last to benefit from technology and you would need to ask yourself if it is something you can really live without?
As we age out healthcare needs grow. From trips to the doctors to regular prescriptions are normally simple matters but the nearest GP may be many miles away. Hospitals also tend to be in the cities and that means slower response times in emergencies. The time an ambulance takes to reach you could mean the difference between life and death.
Isolation and Loneliness
Moving out to the country can mean leaving behind family, friends and your entire social network that you have built up over many years, meeting new people takes time and that can leave you feeling quite alone. Family is also further away and are visits will decrease and the lack of social amenities can be very detrimental to your well-being.
Each persons circumstances will differ but these represent some of the problems that rural living can throw up. However, local councils from Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Dorset and others have begun researching into these and local communities are starting to come up with some solutions. I will look at some of these in a later post.