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84-year-old Olive contributes to BBC debate on The Big Questions


When it comes to discussions about older people in society, the voice of the older person is often missing from such discussions and never gets heard.

Therefore it was great to see Olive, 84, take part in a discussion about elderly care on the BBC’s The Big Questions programme which was first aired on Sunday 21 February.

The programme asked ‘Is it your duty to look after your elderly relative?’ as a group of contributors debated the way we care of our older generation in our society and the way we perceive ageing.

Contact the Elderly was there to contribute to the discussion through volunteer Nyree, who coordinates one of our Peterborough groups, and Olive who is one the guests in the group. Nyree spoke about how she met Olive through the tea parties and Olive said she wanted to remain independent for as long as possible.

‘I can see both sides of the problem,’ said Olive. ‘I was responsible for my other mother until she was 98.

‘I'm 84 now, so I might have the problem of what happens to me.

‘As far as I can do it I'm being independent. I've put a lot of facilities in the house, and that house is still the home for my children, and they do keep their eye on me.

‘If push comes to shove, I know I should stay with one of them. But as long as I can be independent, that's how I want to be.

Watch the programme on BBC iPlayer here.

The regular tea parties that Contact the Elderly organises means that thousands of older people who would otherwise be living very lonely lives have something to look forward to every month. It also means that older people can stay independent in their homes for longer.

Contact the Elderly works in communities across England, Scotland and Wales and aims to help people aged 75 or over who have little to no contact with friends or family, and live largely in isolation.

If you are a healthcare professional and work with older people, it is very simple to refer an older person to our service. Find our online referral form here, or to request a paper application form please email

To find a full list of areas where we work, see our interactive map.

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