Bus hoppers to caring citizens

I was speaking to a pensioner in church yesterday and he revealed that some elderly people use their bus pass to travel between Elgin, Keith and Forres just for something to do during the day. Apparently, this costs the taxpayer the bus fare plus 25% in administration.
This is a time of austerity and such a frivolous, universal benefit seems in drastic need of reviewing. Could the money not be put into the basic state pension with the taxation system helping this to be targeted as efficiently as possible? Looking forward, the situation will only become worse as savvier, less scrupulous people reach 60 and work out how they can “maximize” free bus travel.
Clearly, there is another issue here in that we have a large portion of the population who are lacking in purpose and useful outlets for their energies. Would it be possible for governments to encourage/incentivise nurseries and play schemes to set-up initiatives where over 60s can provide (grand)parental one-2-one care/interactions with 3 – 7 year olds, under supervision? Child Protection concerns could be assuaged by stressing that these volunteers are never alone with kids and always have a trained, paid worker on hand if any difficulties arise. The advantages include:
– breaking down the ‘generation gap’, enabling young and old to socialise together and understand one another
– health for over-60s as they would be more mentally and physically active
– combating negative feelings of isolation and uselessness, which can be a real challenge for some who reach retirement age
– learning for kids as they would have much more adult input and people actually talking with them
– passing on skills, such as basic DIY, and introducing pensioners (in a friendly setting) to the world of ICT
By giving individuals more opportunities to be genuinely productive and contribute to raising the next generation, government can create a win-win situation for everyone. Instead of just seeing pensioners as an audience for the Nativity Play, we should endeavour to make space for more positive interactions to flourish.
Currently, church play groups provide a great service to new families and also represent communities where everyone, whatever their age, can come together beneficially. I believe there is much we can learn from the example and legacy of Christ Jesus.

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