Anyone with a house of their own will probably be okay as they'll have walls come what may, but I've favoured bringing up my kids in a rental house in a nice place rather than buying a flat in a no-go ghetto.
Still, I think I've found the solution. Prison. Thanks to an article by Libby Purves today in The Times (££) about State intervention in prisons, care homes and foster homes, I've come to the conclusion that prison might be just the place for a comfy old age.
Apparently, there's a charity that assists and studies older inmates - Recoop (which sounds more like a chicken house manufacturer) that has found that older inmates often do little exercise, isolate themselves from the younger ones and basically just wait to die. Actually this doesn't sound an awful lot different from the lives of many old people, but in prison you have the National Offender Management Service which makes provisions to alleviate this situation.
There will be a palliative care “hospice” type suite at Whatton Prison, instructions to prison kitchens to include soft foods, widened cell doors for wheelchairs, hospital-style beds and bathrooms. Some prisons have special gym sessions and chair-bound exercise classes. We learn that at HMP Leyhill, where the oldest inmate is 82 and Recoop is active, there is a raised garden, a day centre, relaxation sessions, quizzes and “reminiscence therapy” with DVDs of life in the 1940s. Young prisoners are invited to “buddy” and assist the feeble.Sounds quite attractive, doesn't it? I mean if the choice is a bleak, cold flat because fuel is so costly, sitting wrapped in 3 coats, mittens and woolly hats eating baked beans and seeing no one from one week's end to the next, or committing some heinous crime followed by a nice warm cell, three meals a day plus as much entertainment as you want... What's not to like?
So I've been thinking about the heinous crime I could commit. Obviously one doesn't want to harm anyone physically, although the temptation might be great sometimes, and one wouldn't want to impoverish a nice group of fellow oldies with a financial scam. However, bankers are fair game, as are estate agents, car salesmen and anyone who's too smug. I quite fancy a bit of hacking actually although my computer skills are not really up to it as of yet. I could call myself GrannyHacEsq. That would confuse 'em.
Or a bank raid? I could borrow my son's balaclava and stick painted loo rolls to myself with bits of wire coming out of some Plasticine and attached to a little box with a flashing red light (you can tell I used to watch Blue Peter), and yell "This is a bank raid! Stick 'em up or I blow you all to Kingdom Come!" Then someone would press a button, the police would come screeching round the corner, sirens deafening the eager crowd, I would pretend to take a hostage (a nice young man...), demand a helicopter and a passage to India, and allow myself, with a slight struggle, to be arrested and hauled off to prison. YAY mission accomplished.
Once in prison, if anyone started talking about releasing me, I'd pretend to go all Alzheimery and a danger to myself if left to my own devices, and settle down once more to a nice spot of gardening and some reminiscence therapy.
I predict the prison population will explode after a series of petty crimes committed by the elderly looking for a cushy dotage. It would also take a huge weight off our children's shoulders, knowing we're safe behind bars and not getting up to further mischief.
It's either prison or a cruise ship, anyway; the advantage of a cruise ship being that you can hop overboard in a drunken haze when the money runs out. Of course, you'd have to clear it with your kids first just in case they objected to the idea of you being lost at sea, eaten by fish, and a having body-less funeral.