Not Dead Yet

Not Dead Yet
by Mark Fletcher

In recent years the Voice has published a monthly article, appropriated from a variety of sources, which I thought might be of interest to older readers. From time to time, I’ve also contributed to the Voice a review of a book which has made a strong – usually favourable – impression on me. This month I decided to combine the two.

Not Dead Yet is an eclectic collection of short stories set in a nursing home… sorry, I mean an aged care facility. The author says he was prompted to write it following visits to his mother during her final year in care.

The stories feature many residents, and a few staff, of the one facility, so the reader has the chance to get to know them and their different takes on life in it. My emotional reaction to them fluctuated between heart-breaking and heart-warming – sometimes both in the one story.

I don’t want to spoil your enjoyment, so I’ll provide, in as few words as possible, a mere hint of the plots. If you feel even that is giving too much away, do skip everything between the lines.


  • Residents confront the new manager.
  • Two octogenarians come out as gay.
  • A new resident’s perspective.
  • A 79-year-old comedienne.
  • A resident makes weekly visits to a laundromat.
  • Putting a husband with dementias into care.
  • Registering protests on Twitter – # Old People Vote.
  • Improving the food provided.
  • Letter to a teenage Japanese pen-pal.
  • An outsider reads to a resident.
  • A church representative wants to visit residents.
  • Fairy bread for dinner.
  • The microwave is permanently set at tepid.
  • A family visit… or was it?
  • Recycling gifts as a fundraiser.
  • Imaginary friendships.
  • A son’s first – only? – visit.
  • School students visit the closed facility.
  • Love across the ages.
  • After two years of # Old People Vote, the Minister visits.
  • A carer’s thoughts.
  • Confessions.
  • Resident songs and poems.


So, should these stories make you look forward to the prospect of aged care with enthusiasm, trepidation or dread? Do read the book and decide for yourself.

Tony Barnett