Sandy Toksvig
Sandy Toksvig

Watch out for this!  Coming soon, to a theatre near you, is a play described as ‘The great escape, – senior citizen style.’  It’s about five elderly residents and a young carer who are trapped in a care home amidst rising floods where realisation dawns that ‘nobody’s going to come and save them, because they’re dispensable.”  So they form their own rescue committee, revealing “incredible reserves of knowledge” which leave them “perfectly capable of saving themselves”.

‘Silver Lining’ has been written by broadcaster Sandy Tolsvig to combat ageism.  In an interview in the Telegraph she says that older women have become invisible, not just to producers but to society at large.[i]

While writing the play, she said she had received overwhelmingly positive feedback from women but had met one male director, “who shall remain nameless”, who told her: “Oh my God, I wouldn’t want to be on a rehearsal room with all those older women”.

Ms Tolsvig also wants to tackle the way she sees older people being abandoned, saying, ‘”I’m concerned enough about how we treat the elderly in this country. I think we often don’t treat them with the respect they deserve.”

One of the play’s characters was partly inspired by her own grandmother, who had been in a care home and was “beside herself with the loneliness of it and the lack of mental stimulation”.

The strange thing is how people like the male director mentioned fail to see that they themselves will be old one day.  Some push away thoughts of old age because they can’t cope with it; it reminds them of their own mortality.  While others aren’t the slightest bit concerned about older folk.

Yet we have it on the very best Authority that how we behave towards others determines the kind of treatment we will ultimately receive.  Jesus said, “‘Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back,” (Luke 6:38, NTL)

So – good for you, Ms Tolsvig!


Louise Morse

Louise Morse MA (CBT) is media and external relations manager for the Pilgrims’ Friend Society. She is a writer and speaker, and author of books on issues of old age, including dementia, published by Lion Monarch and SPCK. She is a cognitive behavioural therapist, and her Masters’ dissertation examined the effects of caring for a loved one with dementia on close relatives.

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