Our ‘words of wisdom’ interview celebrates our older people and the contribution they make. It gets their take on life, lessons learned and advice they would give to their younger self and younger people today.This month we talk to 91 year old Maureen Greenway...

Maureen is widowed and has two sons, two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Hi Maureen, tell us, what did/do you work at?

I was a store detective at Woolworths and a security officer.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Enjoy life, travel as much as you can and see something of the world.

What advice would you give to younger people today?

Do a lot more exercise. Get out, go walking or cycling. There is too much time taken up watching TV or playing computer games. It is not healthy.

What age has been the best age of your life? Why?

When I was in my 50s. My family were grown up and I was able to get around more. Plus, I got my first hearing dog.

What in your opinion was the best decade? Why?

The 1940s. I met my husband in 1945. I was just 17 years old. We were good dancing partners. We danced everywhere and enjoyed life.

What is your earliest memory?

Sitting in my pram, in my granny’s hallway. My aunts and uncles came to talk to me. I was only one and a half years old. It was a big old house.

Proudest achievement?

Passing the Institute of Advanced Motors for driving. I won three gold awards for driving. Then I became a tutor for advance driving. I was really proud of that because I am deaf. Nobody thought I could do it. Then I became a member of Belfast City Council Road Safety Committee for four years. Being deaf, people think you can’t do certain things, but you can when you are determined. Deaf people make the best drivers as they do not talk on the phone or listen to the radio. They use their eyes.

What would you say are the most difficult and most rewarding things about growing older?

Some people age more quickly than others. When I was in my 70s, I was able to climb the Scottish mountains and thought nothing of it. I was driving until I was 84 and then I had to give it up. For me, that was the beginning of old age and it is not very rewarding. Otherwise, the most rewarding things are seeing your grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow up. Being able to still cope is rewarding. It is my determination that drives me.

What is the biggest misconception about getting older?

Some people treat older people nicely and others make you feel like they want you out of the road. In your 90s, everyone thinks that you don’t want to be bothered and you feel like you are forgotten. Life is different now. It used to be that families kept together and visited each other, but not now. All of my friends, bar two, are dead. I have memories of them. They are/were my real friends. This is the worst part of age. You miss those that have gone and some, that are living, are no longer able. Although I do not see or hear very well, I am still independent.

Do you know an inspirational older person who is young at heart and defies the stereotype of an older person? Does your Granny love to surf? Or maybe you have a Grandad mad for skydiving? Perhaps your older parents are still working or are selfless volunteers continuing to make a difference to their community. If you know someone who fits the bill and who would be happy to be interviewed, we’d love to hear from you.

Get in touch by emailing communications@copni.org

Read our Appreciating Age report