Ask Goldie - September 2009

By Goldie Carlow

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Dear Goldie:

I am 59 years old and have led a very active life. I have been separated for 20 years and raised my younger son by myself. My older son was in high school when I separated. My life was dedicated to my family, studies and work. I am a faculty person at a post-secondary institute. My boys are now grown and have their own lives. I find that I have no social life and no companionship. I did not need this when I had my boys at home. I see them every two weeks or so even though they live in the same town.

It seems the only time I see them is when I initiate a lunch or supper I pay for or when the older one wants me to babysit his sweet little boy. I know I have to give my head a shake and develop a life of my own. I plan to retire in approximately three years and I want to move to Victoria.

Can you give me hints on housing, senior activities and things I should be aware of when planning a move.

I am a very healthy person with no limitations for pursuing any activity I should choose. Do you know of any websites for pen pals my age on the Island? Thank you.



Dear unsigned:

It sounds like you have experienced a full life with raising your family as a single parent, teaching and now enjoying the role of grandparent. You must really be looking forward to your retirement. The relationship with your sons and grandson will certainly be a plus in your future. In your letter, you seemed perturbed that you initiate and pay for most social contacts with them. I can assure you this is not unusual, unless you bring the matter up when you are together and make a definite plan for future outings. In any case, do not lose contact. Family is very important as you age.

My only advice on buying a house is for you to contact the Victoria Real Estate Board and obtain a list of their companies and agents. It would be wise to discuss information on listings of houses with a friend or relative who has knowledge and experience in the housing market. You are starting well in advance of your retirement so you will be aware of prices and locations when you visit the Island.

*Senior Living* publishes a Special Edition Housing Guide for Seniors. You would certainly benefit from the information it contains. The magazine can also supply you with pen pals. Look in the classified section under Personals. And visit the website online at

I hope your move is successful and you enjoy your retirement.


Dear Goldie:

I have been a widow for 20 years and have lived independently until my mid-eighties. Many of my friends have lost their husbands in the last few years. It amazes me that none of them want to keep their independence as I have. They are all in Senior Care residences. I visit them often and they seem to be happy. It seems sad to me that some of them did not try living on their own. Keeping my independence is so important to me. I look after my diet, exercise and walk daily. -K.H.


Dear K.H.:

I agree that maintaining your independence is an important part of life. However, there are many reasons for giving it up. Many factors make life of an individual different than that of couples. Your friends had husbands to consider and care for much longer than you. They may have felt weary of cooking, cleaning and shopping to keep up their homes. In later years, illness may have added to their strain. Each of your married friends was concerned about the welfare of two people while you only had yourself to care for and consider in decisions. Doubtless, you too had problem days, but they became widows at a much older age than you and possibly looked forward to a little care for themselves.

You are fortunate to be well and independent, and I urge you to keep up your routines. Meanwhile, continue to visit your friends in their new homes. They need old friendships more than ever.



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