"At 86 years old, I feel proud I'm taking part"

One of our participants, Joy Catlin* from Lancashire wrote in to say how much she likes her interviewer and why she enjoys being part of the study.

Question and Answers

What makes your interviewer so great?

The lady who interviews me every year is really lovely and I enjoy her company. She loves her dogs and tells me interesting stories about our life. My interviewer arranges my interview well and she always stays for a cup of tea and chat after the interview.

Do you tell your friends that you are involved?

I tell my daughter and friends that I am involved with the study. I live in a block of 78 flats, but I am the only one who takes part.

What do you spend your vouchers on?

Food! I go to M&S and often buy their special three meals for £8. Sometimes, I treat myself to their buns with the berries on top – I really like those.

Why do you enjoy taking part in Understanding Society?

I like being involved because the questions are easy to answer and it makes me test myself. At 86 years old, I particularly like the mental arithmetic questions.

I also like to keep busy and therefore I take part in many community events. I volunteer at a local charity shop 2-3 days a week and am also a member of the local Women’s Institute (WI) – which celebrates its 100th year anniversary this year.

What impact has the survey had on your life?

It pleases me to answer the questions and I feel like I’m making a difference for future generations. It gives me encouragement that I’m giving something back to society and hopefully helping to make important decisions.

What part of the survey do you find most interesting?

The ‘How I manage the bills?’ question is interesting because it encourages me to think very realistically about the cost of electricity. I’m very lucky where I live because I don’t have expensive bills. The flat is nice and warm and the maintenance charges are low. I also use a microwave to heat my food so it keeps the costs down. But, for most people bills are rising and it makes me realise that I’m fortunate.

Do you take part in other surveys or community activities?

No other surveys, but our WI is having a book made about what has happened in our lives. It has given me a chance to reflect on my past memories – I remember riding my bike with my gasmark on my back and my husband going off to war. It is a good chance to tell people about what happened during those years.

How could the survey be improved?

Getting in contact with us more, I really enjoy hearing from the team. I welcome the postal mailings and chance to give feedback.

*To protect the identity of our participants, names are not revealed.

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