There's no getting away form it — we get older with each passing day, minute, second.

But don't worry — there's lots of us doing it. In fact New Zealand has a growing aged population.

However, times have changed — or is it just that I'm changing because I'm getting older. Not sure but suddenly 70-year-olds don't seem old to me.

Once upon a time when you retired you potted around the house, played golf or sat by the fire with a book.

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Try telling that to the retired people in this town. They are out biking, walking, running, swimming, drinking coffee, going on cruises — living life to the fullest.

That's what it's all about after all the hard graft, years of raising a family and/or working, retirement is a time to enjoy — money might be tight but at least there's plenty of things to do in Hawke's Bay that don't cost a cent.

However, there are of course problems associated with growing old. Some people are lucky and are capable of looking after themselves or they have a spouse or family members close by.

Others choose to move to retirement villages.

But wherever you go, you need to eat and if the time comes when you can't cook for yourself having meals delivered to your door is a godsend.

It's also really reassuring for family members.

That's why it was so disappointing to hear that Napier's Age Concern is unable to continue delivering frozen meals to the elderly in our community because MPI had changed the rules. The new rules would have meant that Age Concern would have had to make modifications to kitchens and additional compliance.

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Why? Did someone get sick from these meals? I'm sure we would have heard about it if they had.

By all accounts Age Concern were doing a great job of meeting a community need. Yes there has to be rules around food and there were so why the changes?

We ran a story on this after an elderly gentleman rang up really upset that he wouldn't be getting meals any more. He said that although he was fully mobile, his wife was not and the meals from Age Concern where reasonably priced and nutritious. Now he has to go out to buy more expensive meals from the supermarket.

It's something we all need to think about.

My mother gets Meals on Wheels from DHB. They are delivered by the wonderful volunteers from Red Cross. It is a fantastic service — the food is good and the price is really reasonable.

For example, one menu option was roast pork, mashed potato and two vegetables, vegetarian option was eggs au gratin and dessert icecream pudding and apricots.
That's a decent meal.

It's really nice to know that my mother doesn't have to worry about "what's for tea".

However, as more and more people need services like this the rules make it harder and harder for providers — it's just crazy.

The next thing you know the good old sausage sizzle held at just about every community gathering and then some will come under fire.

There will be rules about where to put the onions — oh yeah that's already happened — I rest my case.

■ Linda Hall is assistant editor of Hawke's Bay Today.