I quite agree with you Glenn, health and language are the mainn stumbling blocks.
I’m quite modest about my skills reAlly. No I’m not fluent, but living in centre of a small village where no one else admits to speaking English, has rally helped me enormously, to improve MY French language skills, where conjugation used to scare the pants off me, now it doesn’t, it’s the verbs and nouns I need to be more awAre of. Learning from a book is a no no now, because of the memory problems. I do listen to French tv/radio more than I used to.
But another important equation is ones own character, as well as the basic language skills, again health notwithstanding, you need will power and determination to get things done, as well as rudimentary understanding of the mindset of the people you live amongst. We are the same but different, all at the same time. We all respect each other and if I ask anyone of them for help, as I’ve had to do this week,it’s been willingly given, so he’s trust and friendship form an important part of my ageing here - not that I feel old. I’m fortunate in still feeling and being young in my head, and can make them laugh quite often in the local cafe, so I’d say to other expats, ‘dont be a stranger’ I wish one of my neighbours had a fitted gym, I’d be there every day. Walking is one difficulty I have and yes my muscle strength and body mass is fast disappearing!
I’ve also just started legal proceedings against my Proprietaire, the Huisier has Ben here and done his report. I have been using Pls Help France, for the necessary translation of the legal doc. Poor John, think Ive driven him and Nicky to exasperation! I’d say to any single aging ex-pat , if you have the right character, you’ll live a long and probably happy life here.
Aging can be just as hard in Uk/anywhere else, as here - but not if you make it happen happily for you!
For me it would be going back in search of those almost innocent memories which
I had of London but am I going to relive those wonderful times? I think not.
I remember my grandmother and her bright red hair, her love of clothes
and always keeping busy working as a cleaner for Sid James or a lovely
crazy doctor who had scores of cats. Her advancing years took her to the
the Darby and Joan club in Fulham where she could be with other people.
The occasional seaside coach trips were brilliant as they gave members a
chance to smell the sea air, enjoy a simple meal together and sing along
on the coach ride home.
Something like this could be good?
Perhaps you could get some help with the gardening and shopping?
The doctor could have some ideas.
There is always something to look forward to.......but we have to look for it!
Am being asked to reply - i have !
It is interesting to read all these various points about going back to your country of birth as you age ......sadly, although having kept fit and healthy all his life, and finishing the building work on his villa in Menorca as he couldn't wait for the builder to finish it .....then moving to France and doing the obligatory renovation, mostly himself, by then at the age of 72......after that was finished he got bored and decided to build a little bungalow to retire to and set about finishing off the inside work, digging the new garden and laying it out, etc etc he then had a second mini stroke at the age of 80, as a consequence of which he is not supposed to drive climb ladders, etc etc ...................at the drop of a hat he still does - although I have insisted he doesn't drive, on the advice of the doctor .....he sometimes talks about returning to the UK but his doc says he would not make it......and with his Alf Garnet tendancies which he has no intention of changing, I don't think it would be such a good idea anyway ! SO - now that he is not able to manage even our small garden (in comparison to the one we had in Brittany) and is very angry at his lack of independence, what do we do now ? The idea we had if we ever got to this stage was to sell up and buy a Seniorales retirement bungalow in one of their villages, near the coast................however, those have now doubled in price and are out of reach ......to stay here is difficult but we have no family or friends in the UK so that would not be an option anyway ! Life in rural France without independence is going to be difficult as he does not and will not, use a computer, and although he says nothing, he is increasingly angry at not being able to do what he wants and has no one to talk to except me (so I get the brunt of his anger !) At the moment, I am still able to drive so have to do it all ...don't mind, but have a
cataract waiting to be done in one eye, and vision problems following a detached retina in the other so I cannot drive in the dark, which restricts going anywhere in the winter after 5.00pm ! I also have been told by many docs, hospitals, etc etc following many ops, procedures, etc that each of the ALDs I have are life shortening (nowt so certain as death and taxes anyway !) so the OH could well be on his own - he is waiting for another op in Feb and is now saying how can he go on his own as he won't know what is being said (he also has had many ops and not a problem before - but now he is afraid (he also has the onset of vasculaire dementia) so I will have to go with him ! I agree French health service is excellent - however my doc like many is not happy and is on strike now a lot of weekends - when we saw her last week she said a lot of the problems of the French health service is the treatment of a large number of #English' over 60's who are a drain on the system !!! She has never said this before, and we wonder if that is really what the French medical profession think !
In the light of all this, it would seem a better bet to sell up when one of us is left alone, for whatever it can be sold for, and go for a short stay in Switzerland !!
the idea of sitting on your front doorstep in Croydon made us burst out laughing...thank you!!
I have no intention of going back ever - could not stand the weather for a start (live in south in Aude Dept11). Too many people, too many cars, everyone rushing and tearing and too commercialised now. I am single anyway so don't have worry if the other half pegs it (sorry) and came here in that state but have loads of friends here who would and have helped if needed. I am 67 and still walking every day, love my animal activities (rescues and refuges), two cats and have a very active life. Eat well - cook whats in season and it tastes of something!!! Managed to learn to speak reasonable French and have French neighbours and some friends and not intimidated by having to try either. If in UK everything so much more expensive (which people forget when they go back) and here can live very cheaply. This is home and happy to become aged here having seen my elderly parents trying to cope in UK!!! Have grandchild but don't need to be "just down the road" - son and his family have their own lives and I have mine and I love it!
I am not worried about muscles, arthritis etc. - it will make no difference whether I am in the UK or France (treatment may be a bit better and swifter in France). Phil is already being treated for diabetes in France rather better than would be the case in the UK - our French GP examines him thoroughly before issuing repeat prescriptions, for example. All that will send me back to the UK to decline will be the interests of my sons. The decision will ultimately be theirs - if they are unable to tolerate watching me fall apart via Skype or our IP cameras and want me nearer to them, I will comply. I don't want to put them through what we went through during 2014, my mother's final year, watching her being neglected and exploited by an impersonal care agency. It's impossible to say whether care in a small French village will be better or worse than that Mum received in South London. I certainly feel that we belong to the village community where people take an interest in each other more than we ever did in London where people tend to ignore each other and not get involved. We won't be lonely in France, but might be in the UK. In France we can sit in our front porch and chat to passers by - in Croydon we'd look very odd doing so.
At the moment, I can see no point in going into a UK care home at the end, but if my sons were more comfortable with that, I'd do so, and by then I'll be too confused to make rational decisions.
One of my nightmares about Uk was due to the cast of my local surgery
in West London. Yes, I probably was more able to diagnose my problem.I had fever, an inflamed, scary boil in front of my scapula.
Diagnosis 1°) gout
diagnosis 2) arthritis. It was SEPTESEMIA
I had 10 days of intravienous antibiotic.
That is just one incident there have been others in UK.Our doctor here is
really busy.......but he is takes his time to make sure he checks for every thing!
For me there is no comparison between NHS and French medical support.
France offers a far better service.....far better.
Do you actually know what they do here? Before being so prescriptive take a good look. When I described what I had to a still practising member of your former profession she told me how lucky we are. Of course it is not going to 'make' anybody live longer than is normally possible and it certainly cannot undo what we have done to ourselves in many cases, but it gives us a pretty damned good picture of what the picture is. The thorough medicals here are not a 'check up' and not the sometimes dubious run down people sometimes appear to pay through the nose for in the UK. These are within the health services provision, need to be prescribed by a médecin traitant and both of mine took virtually a whole day, a bit more than the four hours Bruce described. The best of the French health service compared to the UK is chalk and cheese and that is coming from someone who has been wrongly treated twice in one hospital, the second occasion nearly killing me. So I am not the first to leap up in praise of the provision. However, to effectively warn people off based on your professional experience when you were working is simply not at all helpful.
Interesting discussion, but please keep in mind that not all members of this group are originally from the UK. My husband & I have no intention of returning to the U.S.; it's complicated & costly to move from France to the U.S., & I quite enjoy our life here. My lack of French fluency aside, the health system here is lightyears ahead of the U.S. system & I wouldn't trade it for the system we left behind. Yes, it's difficult being so far from family & friends, but we were spread all over the vast U.S., so we didn't see many of them frequently anyway. I think we'll stay put where we are.
Having practised as a GP in UK for 35 years I would caution all of you not to put too much faith in the extensive "checkup" mentioned by several posters. I would regularly get pages of data about patients who had had these done by various private services. I can't recall one that told me something either I didn't already know or that the patient should have discovered for themselves. Anyone who doesn't know that smoking is bad for you is beyond help - that is not to say that they may benefit from help in stopping.
Sadly the impact of most medical treatment is modest in the extreme and often misrepresented by the statistics used to validate it. A 50% risk reduction sounds impressive but if it amounts to a reduction of the risk from 2/100 to 1/100 it doesn't actually provide much benefit to the average patient. Of course there are many effective treatments. Not "natural" of course but "natural" means dying of your disease or being eaten by a lion because he/she can run faster than you.
The most important part of medical care is carefully listening to the patient and identifying exactly what they mean by their description of their symptoms. I was told as a young doctor by "old fools" senior to me to "listen to the patient, they are telling you the diagnosis". Of course they were quite right. There are many other things I could say not least of which is "If it doesn't quack like a duck etc". Many misdiagnoses can be traced back to a misunderstanding of the original story by the patient and a failure to critically consider what might lie behind it. I suspect this is common to all systems of care. A lot of technology cannot compensate for careful attention to detail in the application of traditional medical practice.
Brenda said ' maybe when you are older'!
And for me ......I agree that the adventure changes.
If you knew me you would know that I am still working and planning projects
which provide fun. My spring and summer is a time when I meet lots of new
people and aspire to make their holiday magical.
I come from London where I lived all my life until I settled here 8 years ago.
I can not imagine rushing back there to anyone for support or care. I am
pretty sure that they all have enough problems of their own trying to make
ends meet and some satisfaction from the NHS when they are in need of
But we are all different Norman.
Good for you Shaun!
Must be in the name, but I left the UK when I was 26 - which makes 50 years ago (short of a couple of months). In that time I have been back a total of 3 years collectively and couldn't wait to get out of the place every time.
I have a large family there, the vast majority of whom I don't know, and who don't know me, which saves me from being a holiday 'landing field' that several others I know suffer from. As you correctly say today thanks to Skype etc I am more in touch with my brother there than I ever was when I was in the UK in London, whilst he was and is, in Manchester.
As Brenda says you are living an adventure, but unlike what she suggests the adventure doesn't stop as you get older just changes a bit. Yes sudden illness can take its toll, and make a difference but for me if that happens I would still rather be here than subject to the far lesser service the NHS supplies - from what my brother, and other friends tell me.
Plus I don't think going back because of illness and hoping for others to take the responsibility and burden of care for me would sit too well on my conscience.
Maybe us Clarks find being together, but apart from our families works better for us?
Shaun you are young and having an adventure.
Maybe when you are older you will long to be united with the idea of
being near to your family.
People are so different from each other.
Some of you will understand why I told you all about yesterday and
how dramatic the situation was for J and I.
I bought a house here in France with my partner and moved here when I was 21. 6 years ago the 23rd of December. My life has drastically improved since being here.
I love it here. I don't miss my family that much as all the modern tech means I can keep in touch with them.
I can understand why my Grandma doesn't want to move away from her children has she has had the last 40 plus years with them where as I do not have an children as of yet.
Hopefully one day I will as all the work on the house and land etc needs to go to someone and I'd rather it go to my own family.
Plus I would love to raise children here rather than in the UK. I get mega homesick for France when I go to the UK and I have not been back in over 2 years now and I do not miss it in the slightest.
I love living of the land and catching fish from my own lake and the beauty that greets me each morning.
I am too sad today to consider the benefits of wine.
Yesterday we found an old stray cat slowly dragging it's body along the road.
We got a rescue call from a neighbour and J shot up there. Two hours later when
he managed to get the cat into basket and to the vets we found out just how sick and
old the cat was. A loving creature had been someones pet and friend.
There may have been a tiny chance to help him tests were not showing great signs.
But we had hope.
On our way back home we got a call to say that he had late stage HIV.
So we had to decide to put this poor unloved creature out of his misery.
The story had an added complexity as a friend (not too far away) had a cat missing.
She thought that this could have been her cat and came to the vets to see this
cat, which was not hers.
My comment about drinking was not directed at you! Being fond of wine is
not a problem.....
Unless it becomes a problem....
I accept what you say, but I don't think I mentioned 'lifting my spirits with the aid of a bottle' although it does apply as I ENJOY a drink or three, including 'downing' some spirits in the form of a malt every now and then.
I wonder why it is that people seem to equate anyone who enjoys wine (and didn't some bloke called Jesus purportedly change water into it?) seem to think we are all drunks lying in the gutter.
I am not sure if it matters where we are but for certain it is necessary to
find ways of lifting the spirits without the aid of a bottle.
As you get older it gets harder. Physical pain does not assist inspiration.
Since I have been here I have met so many people and they have become aquiantances.
There are a few exceptions and I love these people because they share with me
all that is real and happening in their lives.
We will offer emotional support, and generosity.
I have friends in UK too and always enjoy their visits for a few days......... when I can present them with the ethereal qualities of life in Gensac.
I would find it hard to expect others 'to take care of me' back in UK as they have enough to
to do taking care of themselves!
For me it is imperative to keep hoping, dreaming and finding things which inspire me and to deal
with each of life's dramas as they come by.
And there are certainly plenty of them!