Dorothy’s Story

*Names have been changed

The thing I find about getting older is that you can spend a considerable amount of time alone. You’re often at home, it’s difficult to make new friends, and you might not be able to see your children much - it can be very isolating.

In being alone, you might not look after yourself as much. You can’t be bothered to cook, because you’ll only be cooking for one, so you don’t have a healthy diet. You might not exercise, because you’re just not motivated.

I’ve done many jobs in my life: secretary, teacher, psychiatrist, but now I’m retired. I needed somewhere to go to keep myself active, to keep myself motivated. I joined Hestia’s Age Activity Centre, which is based in Tooting, as a member two years ago; I started coming here every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. See, I like to talk, and I saw the centre as a way to meet new people.

After coming here for a while, I joined as a member of the Age Activity Centre committee. I could see what I needed in order to help me as an older person, and I wanted to ensure that Hestia could offer this, and offer the types of activities that older people like doing. Older people need activities that get us moving our legs and feet, and stimulate our minds.

Now, I’m involved in making the activity programmes. The committee recently set up a new group to help members exercise their bodies through stretching, alongside the yoga and Tai Chi classes we already do.

And when it comes to our minds, we’ve got a memory class. I’m known here for my terrible memory – the other ladies laugh because I’m so terrible with my keys! I’ll be 100 per cent ready to go out, and then I’ll have to look everywhere to find my keys.

Personally, I love to knit. I spoke to Hestia’s Activity Coordinator about getting a knitting class, and she managed to sort it. Others like to play scrabble or do arts and crafts, and they’re able to. It’s a space for people to come do what they want to do, and suggest new activities as a group.

It’s also more than just in-house activities. We often do trips, too. Volunteers take us to a whole bunch of places; from the seaside to markets and garden centres. The latter is always a winner – us old girls and boys love a bit of gardening!

The thing is, when you’re just sat at home, you want to go out and meet people but you need a place that is welcoming, a place that is relaxing. With the Age Activity Centre, it’s a place that I look forward to coming to. I look forward to meeting new people and making new friends, and in all honesty, it makes you feel wanted still. You feel part of the community.

If I described the Age Activity Centre in three words, it would be welcoming, active and friendly, and I know these are important elements for older people seeking places like this.

We have healthy, balanced lunches together. We have discussions together. We do the activities together. It really is a family feeling, and I’m so glad I’m here.

Find out more about Hestia's Age Activity Centre

Read more like this