Frances – Age 82

“Since I retired I’ve been to Machu Picchu and to Alaska where I saw the bear sanctuary, both were very memorable. Spare time? I say you don’t stop doing things because you get old, you get old because you stop doing things.”

I’m 82, I started my nursing training in Westminster when I was 20 and then I worked in New Zealand for 2.5 years and then have been working in Worthing in Brighton the rest of my career. I’ve been a nurse, then ward sister, night sister, deputy matron,  matron, principal nursing officer, chief nursing officer and then chief executive. I enjoyed all of it, as a nurse you’re looking after your patients and then in my senior positions I was looking after the staff and I think that’s just as important as they then look after the patients. Seeing some of the first cardiac surgery was very new, it was the start of major cardiac surgery.

Make sure you enjoy what you do and that you have the talent for it. I like being able to do a vast amount of different things now: I’m a chairman here, I’m part of U3A and the rotary club; I also volunteer at Age UK advice. I’ve liked getting back to the sharp end dealing with clients on a one to one basis and being able to make a difference to their lives. It’s helping people and that’s part of my nature.

Since I retired I’ve been to Peru, Machu Picchu, I went to Alaska, I saw the bear sanctuary, both of which were very memorable. What spare time! I certainly couldn’t work on my feet for 48 hours now but I don’t sit down. I say you don’t stop doing things because you get old, you get old because you stop doing things. I do as much walking as I can, eating healthily. I’ll park for free at the marina and walk to town up hill. Make sure that the career you go to do is something you’ll enjoy doing.