By Beryl Smith – Pensioner  for Imaginet

Yes, things are tough! Today’s pension just does not enable us to live a pleasant life anymore. We are perpetually worried about the electricity hikes, petrol costs and our car maintenance.. which is ageing as we are. Food? – how can we afford to live on the high cost of all foodstuffs. We were warned to make extra provision for our old age, despite contributing to a good pension fund every month, as it was predicted the cost of living would rise. So we did our best, but never imagined we would be so out of pocket.

However, though times are hard now, if we think back on our lives, we were so fortunate to have lived most of lives in the “good old days”. When a Sunday roast was the norm, and movies were a must once a week. Fruit and vegetables at a market were more than affordable and food was plenty.
The family doctor would visit you at home when you or the family were ill and even make follow-up visits to check in.
There were jobs for everyone. Most of us could purchase our own homes and send our children to University. In my case,I had to work almost all my life but many wives were able to stay at home and raise their families. This is virtually impossible to do today.

There were no cell phones and a missed bus meant a walk home as there was no way Dad or Mom could know about it. So children were responsible and made sure they caught the busses and were generally more self-reliant. They also were very confident as a result and from a young age were able to manage their own time and safety.
There was no television and we all sat around the dining room table in the evenings, chatting , getting to know each other and what was happening in our lives.
Yes, though we did not know it then, we had it all.
There were no credit cards.. horror ! But there was also no debt and interest sucking away at our salaries.

So the time has moved on and now pensioners have to rely on a medical aid which generally does not cover too much from December to January. We cannot visit the doctors as often as we should and the financial strain of illness or high cost of medication can be disastrous.
We don’t eat properly. We can’t use fans in summer or heaters in winter. The cost of electricity is just too high. We get sick and we have no alternative but to go to bed and hope for the best.
Do you think I am sorry for myself. No, I am just one pensioner in a country of hundreds of thousands of elderly folk.
So, we are old .. We have paid our medical aid dues, our taxes, our funeral policies and insurances. We have kept the oil companies going with fuel usage , the supermarkets lucrative and the pharmacies very well stocked, thank you. In fact we practically put the country on it’s feet .. what’s the deal and where is our cut?
We have contributed to social welfare for years and year. When we are gone who will subsidise the grants for those without work?
My question : is enough being done to help the pensioners today for their contribution to society as you know it?


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