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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 March, 2005, 18:16 GMT 19:16 UK
Just The Two Of Us
The Gold Coast is the retirement mecca of Australia. The sun, sea and glamour attracts retirees from all around the world.

Betty and Tuppence
Just The Two Of Us
Friday, 15 April, 2005
1455 BST on BBC Two

Betty Mounser, a 73-year-old widow, lives in a retirement village for the over 55s. Betty, with her pet Chihuahua, Tuppence, has been there for 18 months.

Retirement villages are designed to combat the isolation of retirement and they can help people find a new network of friends.

Betty feels that her village provides a safe and secure environment for her to grow old in and helps take the pressure off her family.

"I don't have to ring my daughter and panic her straight off," she says. "It's taken a load off their mind knowing that I've got a button I can press if I have a problem."

There is no shortage of things to do both inside and outside the village to keep Betty and her friends entertained.

Clubs and casinos are very popular venues for retirees. They offer membership discounts, free transport and cheap meals; leaving plenty of money to spend on the slot machines or "pokies".

Bereavement

In the need to get out of the house and be around people, some can fall into the trap of spending too much time, and money, on gambling.

But Betty has plenty of other activities to keep her occupied.

Twelve years ago, Betty's husband died of a heart attack. At first she thought she could cope with the loss, but as time went on, she felt like her life was slipping away from her.

She decided to seek grief counselling.

Betty found it so effective that she started up a branch of the self-help support group Solace, in Queensland, and now helps hundreds of widows come to terms with their grief and battle with the isolation of old age.

"You know you're not alone... that you're not going crazy," she says. "What you're experiencing is grief."


Producer: Agnes Teek
Associate Producer: Steve Grandison
Series Producer: Kiran Soni
Executive Producer: Karen O'Connor


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