I spend my days wearing two layers of clothes and dressing gowns to keep warm. I’ve not put the heating on yet. I am holding out. It’s cold now, but it’s going to get much worse.
I don’t expect to survive this winter. I will either come out of it dead or in serious debt that I can’t pay back because I can’t afford to live.
As a pensioner, I don’t work now because of ill health. I have a few illnesses, some they can identify, and some they can’t. I have Crohn’s disease, degenerating spinal discs, worn joints in my knees, ankles and hips, and three types of arthritis. I have a lot of problems with breathing. I was recently diagnosed with plasma cell disorder – cancer.
I live with my brother. He’s 68 and is still working to pay the bills; he’s also my carer and helps me to get dressed and showered every morning. I can’t get in and out of the shower on my own any more. I can’t even lift a plate out of the cupboard some days. I have only two options: I can spend my days drugged up to the eyeballs to manage the pain, or I just have to take it.
In the 1960s I left school at 14 and have worked for my whole life since. I worked as a mechanic, and then for the last 12 years before retiring I drove lorries delivering bread. People told me to stop, but I wanted to do my bit, and we needed lorry drivers to deliver food.
I didn’t want to retire, but the doctors wouldn’t renew my licence, so I couldn’t drive any more after that. I feel like I have paid into a pension all my life, and now I am getting no help back.
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It honestly feels like old people are already dead to the government now that we can’t give anything back to the economy. I have a paid pension from my work with the AA, but now it will be worth nothing. They said that they would give us a triple lock, and they promised us that we would get it, but I have a feeling that they will find a way not to go through with it.
The cost of living is also taking its toll. Currently, I eat every other day to keep costs down. I have a meal one day, and then I just have some toast or a sandwich on the second day. I don’t go out, I can’t, and so I am just living day to day.
I just want the government to acknowledge that we’ve done our bit for the country and to support us more, but instead, they’re taking everything away. And as a result, this winter could be my last.