Dont want to be a problem Dame Joan Bakewell admits ageing fears led her to move home

Dame Joan Bakewell talking about Harold Pinter

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Dame Joan Bakewell’s new book The Tick of Two Clocks follows the acclaimed author as she details downsizing her house. In an exclusive chat with, Labour peer and broadcaster Joan opened up about how worries about getting older led her to make the choice.

In The Tick of Two Clocks, Joan tells the process of moving from the home she’s occupied for 50 years to a studio bungalow.

The latest of her books is full of meditations on the nostalgia of letting go, as well as how getting older led her to make the decision.

Speaking about the book, Joan, 88, said: “It’s a reflection of two periods in one’s life, moving from one house to another.

“It’s very appropriate now that they’re discussing social care, because a lot of older people are living in big houses with children grown up and left.

“So they’re alone, if they’re widowed, in a big house with a garden.

“They find it very hard to keep it tidy and nice and they often feel quite lonely.

“I think it’s quite a good idea to discuss the possibility of downsizing to a much smaller accommodation.”

As Joan mentioned, Boris Johnson announced yesterday how National Insurance payments will be going up to cover the shortfall of social care.

This will see more money going on things like easing the NHS backlog as well as on helping older people with care needs.

And, as many will be aware, costs of care as people get older can be a cause of great stress.

The acclaimed journalist also opened up about how her decision was influenced by her not wanting to become a “problem” to her family.

She added: “If you love your parents or grandparents at all, you don’t want to put that friendship under the burden of finding that they’re a problem.

“‘Oh granny is such a problem, what are we going to do about her? She doesn’t want to move, she’s really crotchety, she’s not very well.’

“We don’t want the older generation to be simply thought of as a problem.

“We want them to be our friends who we care for and who are happy to talk to us about their fear of being alone as they get old, how they would like to live.”

Joan also explained how she hopes speaking openly about her move will encourage people to have these conversations with their families as well.

“I think that there needs to be a conversation within families to know how you are going to manage when you’re much older,” she added.

And for the Labour Party peer, the process of moving house feels like a new “stage in her life” as she acknowledges she’s “going to get older”.

However, don’t expect her to slow down any time soon as she had headed back to the House of Lords this week to take up her seat.

As well as this, Joan balances being the president of Birkbeck, University of London, a working journalist and her work with humanism.

“I am lucky to keep working and I do think it’s worth keeping on working,” she added.

“Even if it is part-time, even if it’s really a small time.

“I think it’s important, it makes a big difference to your welfare.”

The Tick of Two Clocks: A Tale of Moving On by Joan Bakewell is available to buy now. £16.99, published by Hachette UK.

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