The early evening of February 23rd saw a diverse group of people congregate at Calcott Golf Club for our Later Life evening.

Despite Storm Doris raging outside, the evening proved to be both relaxing and informative.

The aim of the evening, entitled “Faith, Hope and Clarity” was to offer an insight into planning for later life from an emotional, care led perspective as well as delving into the all important financial and legal elements.

Taking to the floor were three expert speakers, Melanie Meads of Q1Care, Kate Talbot of Shore Financial Planning and Penny Wright of Gardner Leader Solicitors.

Melanie offered an insight how Q1Care offers emotional as well as physical and practical support to the elderly and vulnerable across the Berkshire area. Her obvious passion for caring shone through and a story about the Johnson family was heartwarming (read their story here.)

Requiring care is not an ending, but a beginning – what a wonderful message.

Kate Talbot focused on how we can all financially plan for our future – some of the figures she shared made the audience almost gasp audibly and soon realize than not planning for our futures is simply not an option.

A clear expert in her field Kate discussed planning for retirement and the important of factoring in emergencies and some practical considerations for those who own multiple properties.

Penny Wright gave a most interesting insight into the importance of Lasting Powers of Attorney. A show of hands in the room highlighted that only a few people had these, seemingly essential, documents in place and Penny’s presentation provoked much lively discussion.

A Lasting Power of Attorney authorizes someone to act on one’s behalf in the event of accident or illness. Health and welfare and property and financial affairs can be covered by an LPA and Penny stressed that whilst DIY forms are available on the web, the complex forms are best completed by an expert.

It left the audience in no doubt that an LPA is a must!

The wonderful Ian Taylor from Berkshire Fire Service joined the panel for a QandA session at the end of the evening and we all found ourselves wowed by the free home fire safety checks that are on offer to those considered vulnerable. From smoke alarms that ‘talk’ to fire retardant bedding and nightwear, this service is amazing. More information can be found at www.rbfrs.co.uk

Punctuating the serious topics of the evening was a wonderful wine tasting from Eddie Lewis of Laithwates. From a crisp New Zealand Sauvignon to a hearty Italian red everyone enjoyed this part of the evening – although we were slightly dismayed to hear a bottle of wine contains over 700 Calories!!

Last but not least were the lovely aromas and hand massages from Dale Campbell of Neal’s Yard. A welcome spot of pampering on a blustery evening.

Thank you to everyone who came and to those who donated to the Alzheimer’s Society.