Monday, April 21, 2008

Old ladies are shoppers too

I've been away visiting my 88-year-old mother, who's now in a "rest home" - what an awful name that is. It was a good visit. I was able to take her out and help her do some of the many essential things that become impossible to do by yourself as you get older, but that rest home staff simply can't help with - like going to the optician and buying a bra.

Gone are the old days when you could rise gracefully in the lift to the lingerie department and discuss your needs sitting down by the counter.

Now you have to wend your way across an entire floor, around an obstacle course of self-service stands, till you reach the bra corner - which may or may not be anywhere near the fitting room.

Once you egt there, you find that neither bras nor changing rooms are built to suit older women. We had to go through some amazing contortions to get her and her walker in and out of the tiny cubicle, especially as it had a door and not a curtain. Just as well she had it, as there was no seat in there, so she needed it to sit on.

I was delighted to be able to help my mother this time, but I live an hour's flight away and I'm only an occasional visitor. It's my sisters, especially the one who lives nearest, who do it all on a regular basis.

We're a long-lived lot, so one day it will probably be me needing this kind of help. But I haven't got a daughter. So I could well end up braless.

Surely there's a good living to be made by offering a comprehensive home and rest home shopping service - or even a really good catalogue service with easy returns? A sort of Elder Ezibuy, geared to that invisible consumer group, the Definitely Older Woman?

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