Older People

This section concerns those people over retirement age in Marshfield, many of whom are fit, active, and may be working, but some of whom, especially as they grow older, may need help and care.

Activities

There are two luncheon clubs for older people, one of which includes a keep fit session. The Wednesday Lunch Club has 47 members with around half attending each time, and the Friday Lunch Club has 16. Both operate with the financial support of an SGC grant. Whilst some couples attend, they cater especially to local people who are isolated, and often bereaved. Members also take part in various local groups such as flower arranging, skittles and bowls, but would like more daytime activities.

There is probably a need for a meeting place, possibly at specific times, like a weekly coffee morning for a wider group of older people. There is a Keep Fit for 55+, yoga, pilates and a Tai Chi class, but there is possibly a further need for exercise classes of varying levels, from people with health problems to those who are very active and fit.

The village has many clubs and activities, listed in the Parish Directory, open to older people, but for others membership may be by invitation. There is however the WI Members Book Club and a Walking Group also run by the WI both seeking members. The absence of a cycling club was noted. The badminton club and the tennis club can be enjoyed by the more fit.

There are no U3A type groups. These are run by volunteers, often in the daytime, and usually in people’s homes. Subjects studied can include languages, art, photography, film, family history, creative writing, and book groups. Some residents already go outside the Parish for them.

Some complain that activities can be difficult to find out about.

Homes

There are 17 sheltered housing units in Withymead, but the Almshouses are the only provision specifically for those with some residency qualification in the Parish.

Older people in larger homes may want to downsize. If they want to remain in the village it is often difficult to find suitable smaller or accessible homes. Others may remain in larger homes so that family can visit. There may be grandparents who would welcome the opportunity to come to live near their children with the consequential support they could give to busy parents. This need is part of the stimulus behind the Parish Council action on local requirement housing.

Questionnaire

Questions in the surgery questionnaire which related particularly to older people were on daytime activities, downsizing and transport. 42% were interested in more daytime groups or activities. Of the 16 people who wanted specific activities: 6 mentioned exercise classes, 6 languages, 4 photography, 3 U3A, and 2 Pilates. Other interests were walking, art and music.

Although some of the respondents may already have downsized, or live in small homes,15% were interested in downsizing and another 17% weren’t sure.

Most people thought public transport in the village was poor and that more buses were needed.