Does 'Ageing' mean going back to the UK for you?

About the FREE 'top to tail' medical check, Norman...... For mine last year, the doctor checked loads of things and then told me that it was not compulsory but if I wanted to, he'd check my prostate. I said OK and got myself in position on the couch. He thought I was a bit tense so, to make me relax, he said " Je promets de ne pas rayer votre gorge"!!

I was so excited that I demanded a second opinion!

Welcome back old friend. Parallel to my thoughts but better expressed I think. I share the language issues although my hearing is fine (unless I don't want to hear) and am also 4cm smaller which as a titch anyway makes me eligible for any further films with hobbits or dwarfs in them ;-) But yes, yes and yes to what you say and people should take it seriously. Some of us ageing codgers work on, keep our minds sharp and the rest of it ticking over. The medics here play a big role in that. The thorough service, complete with oil check and tyre change human version, offered is brilliant. When I told somebody in the UK after my second one he glumly said that he has a brilliant GP who is often too tired and overworked to listen to his heart although he has had bypass surgery! Food for thought, although the bleeders seem to always have something to say about what we eat.

Well, I have been absent for a while and I see the old perennial chestnut has surfaced again. Just to add a couple of points that people may not be aware of - and on checking certainly does not seem to be available in the UK, although I stand to be corrected on this, and that is the FREE 'top to tail' medical check that is available here. I have just gone through this which as I had already done recent eye tests and blood tests only took three hours, but usually takes a thorough 4 hours. I suggest people talk to their doctors about this.

Be prepared as I was for the constant mantra which applies to me every time I visit any medico - 'lose a bit of weight, and drink less'. As I have been hearing this in a dozen countries for the past forty years, and still have perfect heart lungs and liver, and with only a bit of arthritis in my knee through an accident in the UK which took THREE YEARS to discover - believe it or not even though I kept saying I had ripped a cartilege throughout the investigatory, useless examinations of a major London Teaching Hospital, I tend to let this mantra go over my head a bit.

Here I did discover two things which I felt were important. Although I have known my deafness is getting slightly worse at 65% now as opposed to 60% five years ago, what was covered was the psychological effect of this, and which I had never even considered, which is the 'withdrawal' process that accompanies it. My French wife is always embarrassed when I follow up a conversation after the point has moved on, and when I mispronounce words that I can't even hear. This in turn has reduced my confidence in participation, although I still try.

As I read French very well, except more techie and legal stuff - and I have a problem with that even in English, I don't feel I have absented myself from French language and culture However, I now do recognise the blank looks that come over people's faces when I blunder. I DO recognise that even in English the conversational bits also apply so I avoid thinking of it as a 'French' thing.

Apart from my wife's discomfort I have not noted any antipathy toward me from French neighbours and people I try to talk to, and I do explain from the outset that I AM deaf, plus English and probably stupid as well, which tends to establish the scenario.

The other main point and possibly due in part to the 'withdrawal' is a positive one that I believe applies to health generally, and that is the need to keep the brain exercised. The Clinic also stressed this fact, not knowing of course that I still produce books regularly.

So learning to live with and recognise limitations does not rest with the physical only, but keeping that old depressive feeling that seems to come with the territory of getting old.

One thing that finally did pee me off was to disover that I had lost my 'six foot one' status having dropped 4 cms in height in the past five years - that was a shock!

Incidentally I now produce a free online magazine called 'Automobile Posters & Pics', which covers my own passion for the subject. Anyone wants to get the free download its available on Cloud links below;

NB you only need to to click on these links and the rest should be automatic. You DON'T pass over any personal details, not even your email address, and there is no follow up from me. Further issues will be announced on Facebook, Linkedin, and if there is no problem(?) here on SFN.

Mike, I believed I was as fit as a fiddle until four years back come the spring. Then I broke my shoulder, in hospital other things were diagnosed, over the next year things got worse up to a heart attack (in hospital). Some of what happened went wrong. My shoulder was badly repaired, I had three years of therapy and in a way I am waiting until necrosis begins to have a replacement, but it means permanent pain. I had neurological problems that were treated wrongly given other things, they cost me most of my English and French oral language, I am only back to about 45% of French and 80% of English, also have holes in my memory. However, I have three excellent specialists plus am on the books of a world leading specialist in shoulder replacement for come the time.

We have a summer, second home nearby that an English couple use. The woman is a GP, when we talked through my stuff - she asked not me doing it to get her advice, which I was not looking for - she told me that despite the emergency I would have gone on medication for my heart. Waiting times are long. Here I had my four implants in just less than two weeks. The neurology was sorted out quickly and the specialist for apnoea made a phone call whilst I was in his surgery. Next day a respirator was delivered, it is in permanent contact with the provider by internet and there is a regular maintenance visit by a technician. I also have a battery pack for power failures, travel and so on. The bit about the respirator astounded the GP, she told me that it would take months and months in the UK, as for the battery pack there would be little chance. A couple of thousand quids worth of equipment, albeit it hired by the system and not my property, is not so easily handed out in the UK.

On the one hand I have no actual incentive to go back to the UK, as I explained earlier in this thread. My health is as recovered as it will ever be bar the possible shoulder replacement later. The other aspect of staying is that there the medical provision I have here would not be generally available because the resources are simply not there. Medically, most of us are better off here.

I naturally do not wish to say it is wrong to go back to the UK, all people are master/mistress of their own lives. Their choice comes first, not advice or diktats on here. However, I am not at all sure I would be as healthy as I am here or even alive. I have the absolute minimum medication, my already pretty healthy lifestyle is even healthier and I am also able to do many things I did before. My shoulder limits some things like lifting or raising things, but it functions, The rest is seen by the specialists a couple of times a year, I have scans every so often and whilst getting older, six years more than you Mike, I have a fair chance of seeing my daughters grow up. Yes, mistakes were made but in general French medical services have kept me alive and staying well. Personally I prefer to stick with that.

Chris you are so right! I feel a bit self righteous now. What’s good for the goose etc. Not always true. Each unto their own.
I do feel very privileged to have discovered the pleasures of living in France and obviously lucky to be able to do it financially.

Thank you Annette for sharing your thoughts. My husband and I are 50 and 60 respectively. We have owned a house in rural Southern France, near Perpignan, for seven and a half years. He is a diabetic of 5 years, whenever we are there his blood sugars are very good. We put this down to several factors. The fresh, unprocessed food, healthy clean air and the walking. We spend school holidays there, I’m a teacher! We are trying to ‘engineer’ our working lives so that we can spend all our time in France. Our house will not be suitable for us in our dotage, however, we have already acknowledged this and know that we will need to move to a flat or equally adapted accommodation. BUT this will be in France. Why on earth would we want to spend our lives totally in the UK? I wish you and your husband the best France has to offer. Bon Sante.

I was extremely fit and healthy and had never even suffered a cold, never took medication and used to work on the farm 7 days a week from 0600 until about 2100 and never ever get tired.....then I suffered Toxic Shock Syndrome due to medication I was prescribed, the end result is that I am now 61, I suffer arthritis and tendinitis in all my joints, I have asthma, my lung capacity is impaired, I have liver and kidney problems, I have heart problems, my vision has suffered, I have permanent tinnitus and impaired hearing....never think that keeping fit will guarantee your future health..I now know life can just change in an instant and unfortunately for me, it has and I fear for the future. I never ever though this could happen to me, or rather to my health. We had a thriving business but now we will be selling and moving back to the UK where we have family who can help as things get worse.

This is such an interesting topic and it gives an insight into how people will naturally think so differently. It's of no value to say that it is impossible to understand why someone would return as the reasons for being in France are as varied as those for returning. I speak French fluently but that doesn't mean that my stays in hospital have been a cakewalk; medical provision is much more available here but i does not mean it's any better when the chips are down. I've had brilliant care here and some that leaves a lot to be desired. I've shared rooms in hospital with some great characters but I have also spent two weeks with some old French pied noir who refused to talk to me! My plea is, therefore, please understand and help those who would rather return and don't criticise them too harshly.

You are so right about taking care of yourself. My husband is 91 and so fit and he puts it all down to living in France, Everyday he spends hours out in the garden, we est very healthily and have our main meal around 1-2 pm and very little in the evening, We have been out here for 26 years and the benefits far outweigh the few negatives. On visits back to,U.K we really notice the difference…the size of the people, the traffic, main occupation shopping and how u fit people are. How lucky are we to have discovered the life in France and the longer we are here, the more we treasure it. Old peoples home…no thanks, not for us EVER!!!

Interesting thoughts!

I've not yet moved full-time to France as the never-ending house renovations are still under way (we save the money then spend it, save some more etc).

Frankly I can't wait though. I am fortunate to have a professional job that allows me to work from home, so location and money not currently an issue. Also, given our respective ages (55 and 50) still no real worries concerning health. But such is the trajectory of the UK's economy (over reliance on 'service' industries and inflated house prices) and with the prospect of an ever dwindling public sector/ safety net, we are already planning for our 'full' (as opposed to semi-) retirement, i.e. when mobility and money become the primary constraints.

I think we are witnessing the last generation that could even seriously contemplate returning to the UK. As Brian noted, they will simply be priced out, not only by property values but also by spiralling healthcare costs. And future generations won't necessarily have the luxury of falling back on 'family'. UK families are shrinking fast, and future many more family members will no doubt be compelled to move overseas as well.

So learning the language seems to be the main goal! What a curse that our state schooling failed us so dramatically on that front! But it is a beautiful language at least (unlike German say!) And of course keeping lean and fit...growing fruit and veg should help with that, as should French local produce in general, unlike the expensive junk food that dominates most UK cuisine. And if the mind goes, then frankly being in the comfort of a generously proportioned house in France with beautiful surroundings has to be more beneficial than living somewhere small, cramped, noisy and, by then, totally alien?

Going back is about creating security! Being with the family because

they will offer help.

A friend of mine in UK.......a good, hard worker works with animals and has never

saved or gained any tangable partner.

She gets her gov pension in Jan and if she does not work she will have her rent paid and

council tax. No expectations of a high life.....BUT survivival?

Funnily enough this is a topic of intense discussion in our house at the moment...I want to go back & my husband thinks I've lost the plot! Especially in light of us popping to UK in October for 4 nights to take in a Bob Dylan concert in Manchester & do the family duties, disembarking the ferry in Portsmouth at 7.15 a.m. it took us 12 hours to reach our destination in The Peak District - followed by the next 3 days anywhere we tried to go, took double the length of time it used to - sheer traffic volume now in the UK.

We've been here 15 years, have not stopped with various projects, built a vacation rental business, as we are in Normandy & in the heart of American Landing area 85% of our business is American...this year, our most successful ever, has left me wrung out & exhausted! (some Americans can be very needy on holiday!)...

I've talked to some of my French friends about my feelings & they are horrified that I'm feeling this way and have actually rallied around organizing shopping trips & culture trips.

Analyzing it I have drawn up what is bothering me - it actually comes down to the language & the Irish side of me missing the pub & the 'craick'! Of course I speak passable French after the time here, (I've been in hospital for emergency treatment and managed very well), but it's not always possible to play with words and be witty - I find it's always so serious mingling with French, you're concentrating...(except when the Calvados comes out, then it is a different thing, it ends up like an Irish night out with song & laughter!), but these events are few.

For sure the Health Cover here is excellent, the environment is spotless, we have no crime, little traffic. We have a great house, Llamas, Alpacas, 3 dogs, 8 cats to mention a few of our creatures, church bells, no noise or light pollution, clean air, blue flag beaches 10 miles away, in the heart of a National Park...

But, it's rural, there isn't a local, they all speak French & I feel buried at times!

We therefore are making a big adjustment with our work life balance. When we weighed it all up, work took over, so for 2016 we will cut someone else said it's fatal to stop work completely - that's when you go on the slippery slope of nothing.

I'm hoping with more 'me' time I will have the time, and not be so tired all the time, ( you don't have the same energy levels in your 60's that is for sure!), we will to be able to enjoy France again...for the 1st time in 6 years we are taking a holiday...we even forgot to do that...our fleeting getaways were always to UK for family visits/duties etc.

I think we will stay, (in fact I'm now sure having replied to this thread), but like a marriage you have to work at it!

Well at almost 75...and having lived here for 9 years...I have no desire to return to the UK. Our house is on the market and when we sell we'll be renting in warmer climes. I am also very fit...through sensible eating...and keeping fearing 'old age' not in my vibration.I always tell people that I'm still a baby...still growing. Mind over matter. :-)

I am fast approaching 80 with nearly 30 years in France. Just under 6 foot and a healthy 17 stone. I have slept badly since being deeply involved in a financial business in the UK, I hate exercise, but I am as fit as a fiddle apart from the occasional ache, I still enjoy my wine and the odd glass of whisky. I hope to see my days out here and with the help of an excellent medicine I am not intending to shake off these mortal coils for a long time to come. I believe it is a cross between a state of mind and a lottery in the life stakes. I had a very active life as a young lad during and after the war, coupled with a government inflicted food regime, and I am convinced it is this fact which makes me so healthy now. I believe my attitude to life is infectious as all my friends are in the same age group with the same attitude to life

I am 67, I am married to somebody who is not a UK citizen, I have young children. My basic state pension is so pathetic it is insulting, that would be my only guaranteed income. My OH might not find work, so what would we live on? If we sold up here we might afford a chicken hut in the UK, but a small one at that. Where would we go anyway? I have spent a lot of my life outside the UK from my infancy onward so really do not feel that is anywhere I would particularly wish to fall back on. I doubt I am unique so the autobiographical detail is only an illustration of how people who have probably retired (early perhaps), tried to establish themselves here, found it does not work are now going 'home'. The difference between needs, preferences and all other denominators are so vast that it seems like an impossible question. My feeling is that we get to hear about those people who go back whereas the rest of us who just keep truckin' on are not discussed.

I wonder how many of you have relatives who would help you settle back in UK?

I have observed the changes within family relationships as years go by and note that

in recent years a great deal of distancing.This is what I gather from looking at many lives,

listening to stories and understanding the facts which I find.

I ask how comforting will you find the health system in uk?

When you are very sick and very old there is probably only one and kindness.

In a way I am learning the French way..... a day at a time.

The new car ( 10 year old gift from a friend)passed CT and is almost French.

The foss inspection went well.

My cats are warm and cosy here in France.

I left the UK in 1986 and can’t think of any reason why I would rather be there than here in my old age. Keeping fit is complex. Many people suffer from the stresses and strains from excessive fitness work or from playing sport earlier in their lives. Being active in an appropriate way is important as you age as are diet, alcohol consumption, mental stimulation…

We are in the process of selling our lovely home and garden, that was built in 2003 on land we bought…and hope to rent something here in Vaison or nearby, but hopefully buy a flat? in the UK on the south coast near some family. The reason being to keep options open as when there is just the one of us, we would want to be nearer family and not have the traveling to face…
Property prices seem to keep going up in the UK too whereas here we will have broken “even” which is fair enough.
We have made lovely warm French and English Dutch etc…friends, but several have already or will move to be nearer family as they grow older…
I know we will miss the CPAM as think the health care here is second to none, so hope our health continues so that we can continue to enjoy an active life here in this lovely part of France.

I'm not sure about going "back" to the UK within the next 10 years but we'll probably move on to somewhere livelier than very rural France. Now that we've retired - building trade, and wifey was a paysagiste - we've taken on yet another renovation project with a lot of land to keep us fit and active. But, like you I have wonky knees and am certainly less fit than I was in my 40s and 50s. I tire more easily so our working day is shorter, but we're enjoying what we're doing and keeping relatively fit and healthy...for now.

I think our dream for our 70s and beyond though would be an apartment by the sea and days spent outside (so that probably rules out the UK in the winter) - walking, playing pétanque and chatting with the locals. That's difficult in rural France as during the winter, our village and many like it, is absolutely dead apart from the 8am activity outside the Boulangerie :-)

I can understand folks returning to the UK - I'm not sure many of us could cope happily in a foreign tongue if we are ill in old-age or demented, and why should we; we all like to be in our comfort zone if possible. But for us, we don't mind if we spend our twilight years in a busy town on the south coast of France, Spain or the UK.