In honour of International Women’s Day 2021, a group of female pensioners share wise words to their younger selves, reflecting on over 90 years of experience
When asked what advice they’d give to their younger selves, ‘show tolerance’, ‘be honest’ and ‘drink plenty of wine’ were just some of the tips shared from several pensioners residing in Bupa’s Care homes across the UK.
To acknowledge International Women’s Day, care staff collected quotes from female residents in an effort to recognise and celebrate the experiences of the older women. Their advice is sound, important for any generation and gender.
From ‘life goes quickly – don’t forget to enjoy it’ to ‘never put off until tomorrow what you can do today’, the wisdom of these older women spanned self-care, ambition, romance and self-respect. Joan Warwick from Bupa’s Broomcroft House wanted to share with her former self that fear can often get in the way of doing what you truly desire. Her advice was: “Don’t be afraid to be more ambitious.”
Whilst much of this advice focused on grabbing life with two hands, some residents were more reflective of the simpler things in life. If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that we have to find joy in the simple things, before they pass us by.
‘Try not to worry too much’, ‘keep smiling’ and ‘treat everybody with respect’ was just some of the advice shared from the women at Mount Hall care home, whilst Roma Walker from Sheffield shared, “Life goes quickly, enjoy it!” Fellow Sheffield resident Patricia Roberts’ advice was simple, “Always be happy.”
International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. It raises awareness against bias and gender inequality and campaigns for action. So, it was only fitting that care home staff – who worked tirelessly to protect their elderly residents in the pandemic – shared a few of their life lessons. Their advice included ‘lead with your head and not your heart’, and ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!’
Some final words that rang true came from two residents at Premier Court, and are even more poignant as we slowly make our way back to normality. Ruth shared, “Make the most of your life today as you don’t know what’s around the corner,” and Betty suggested, “Do what you can, when you can.”
It’s safe to say that the female residents of Bupa care homes across the UK took this challenge in their stride and had clear messages to their former selves. The full list of life lessons included:
- Be kind to everyone
- Don’t be afraid to be more ambitious
- Try not to worry too much
- Honesty is everything
- Be as good as you can be
- Life goes quickly – don’t forget to enjoy it
- Keep enjoying the small moments with your family
- Drink wine – twice a week!
- Enjoy what you have
- Look after yourself
- Have tolerance with other people
- Do what you can, when you can
- Make the most of your life today as you don’t know what’s around the corner
- Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
- Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today
- Be happy
- Keep smiling
Reflecting on this initiative, Bupa commented, “Often, it’s the little things that can make a big difference and help us all to enjoy life a little more. So, what advice would you give to your younger self?”
In 2021, mine is, “Give thanks to each and every woman, not just the ones you know.” I’d love to hear yours!