72 year old TV presenter Gloria Hunniford is one of four celebrities who are starring in a new BBC1 documentary entitled When I Get Older, which focuses on life for pensioners in the UK…
And it seems that what she discovered about trying to live on a standard old age pension horrified her.
For the film, Gloria went to stay with mum-of-five Ivy Ward, whose life has been blighted by troubled relationships and more recently, by heart and lung problems.
Gloria found that the 62-year-old Ivy, who lives alone in a two-bedroom flat in Darwen, Lancashire, has a daily disposable income of just over £3, which has to pay for essential items from food to clothes.
Of the paltry figure, Gloria said, “You just can’t do it – it’s impossible.”
Ivy receives £120 a week by way of benefits and state pension, but she has to put some of that money towards her rent which leaves her “with a pittance to live on…”
On her first day with Ivy, we’ll see that Gloria discovers the pensioner’s kitchen cupboards are all but empty, as is her fridge.
Of glamorous Gloria, Ivy said, “It must be heaven to live her life and go shopping and get what she wants.
“I feel scruffy, dirty. Look at her with her nice hairdo and clothes. And look at me.”
Gloria, who also presents BBC1’s Rip Off Britain, said, “I’ve worked on campaigns trying to prevent the elderly suffering hypothermia in winter because they can’t afford the heating, but I wasn’t aware of the nuance of day-to-day living penny by penny.
“That was a shock to me.”
Ivy added, “My life now is awful. Sometimes I get really down and I just want to die. I just don’t want to be here…”
However, at one point during the film, when Ivy’s daughter and granddaughter visit her, it’s evident that for Gloria, the pain of having lost her daughter Caron Keating to breast cancer in 2004 is still very raw.
Gloria said through her tears, “The one thing Ivy had going for her, despite the hardship, is a really lovely family.
“Whenever I see that mother-daughter relationship, I think of Caron.
“Caron, after all her searching for cures, for hope, for anything, wrote in her diary: ‘At the end of it all, all you have is the love of your family and friends,’ and that is so true.”
The two-part When I Get Older documentary also features war reporter John Simpson, Blackadder’s Tony Robinson and Birds of a Feather’s Lesley Joseph.
As mentioned, it’s on BBC1 tonight and tomorrow at 9pm.