A great-grandmother who battles extreme loneliness hopes cosmetic surgery to remove her ‘turkey neck’ will give her the confidence to go out and make friends.
Toni Goldenberg, 80, of Wallington in Surrey, has dreamed of having a facelift since she started to notice wrinkles when she just in her mid twenties.
After spending five years saving up for the £10,000 operation, Ms Goldenberg is set to become one of the oldest people in the UK to have the procedure when she goes under the knife at Harley Street Skin Clinic next month.
Doctors have warned Ms Goldenberg she could die on the operating table, but she is desperate for a ‘new lease of life’ and jokes ‘at least she will look good in her coffin’.
Great-grandmother Toni Goldenberg (left), who battles extreme loneliness, hopes cosmetic surgery to remove her ‘turkey neck’ will give her the confidence to go out and make friends. She is pictured right aged 27 with her then three-month-old daughter Josie
Ms Goldenberg started saving for the £10,000 procedure five years ago when she would put loose change into a giant Coca-Cola bottle she called ‘nan’s facelift fund!’ (pictured)
‘I still feel young at heart but my face just doesn’t match my body anymore – or my mind for that matter,’ Ms Goldenberg said.
‘I’ve been a mum, I’ve been a grandma and a great-grandma, and now it’s time for me.
‘I want to boost my confidence and feel happier when I look in the mirror, and get rid of my turkey neck.’
Ms Goldenberg battles with poor self esteem, which puts her off leaving the house and meeting people.
Speaking of the surgery, she said: ‘I think it will help me to put myself out there and meet new people.
‘As you get older, you become less attractive and you can feel as though you are invisible.
‘People talk over you and they are not interested in you anymore – it can feel terribly lonely a lot of the time.
‘Surgery isn’t for everybody but I feel this will give me a new lease of life and boost my confidence to meet new friends.’
Ms Goldenberg has lived on her own for 38 years after her daughter Josie Carter, 52, and son Giles, 42, fled the nest.
She lost her husband when Josie was just six-years-old and later separated from her son’s father.
Ms Goldenberg (left) is aware she could die on the operating table but is desperate for a ‘new lease of life’ and jokes ‘at least she will look good in her coffin’. She is pictured right in her 30s
Ms Goldenberg (pictured left with her daughter) lost her husband when Josie was six years old. She feels it is ‘her time’ after spending years raising children, grand children and great grand children. She is pictured right in her 40s with her mother Ellen, who she also looked after
WHAT IS A FACELIFT?
A facelift, or rhytidectomy, is cosmetic surgery that lifts up and pulls back the skin to make it look tighter and smoother.
It is designed to reduce sagging skin around the neck and jowls.
In the UK, costs vary from clinic-to-clinic from a few thousand pounds for a mini facelift to £10,000 for a face and neck operation.
All independent and hospital clinics that carry out the procedure in England must be registered with the Care Quality Commission, which publishes inspection and performance reports.
Facelifts are normally performed under a general anaesthetic, but can sometimes be local.
They often involve making cuts above the hairline at the temples, as well as under the chin.
The operation lasts around three hours, with most patients having to stay in hospital over night.
It takes around two-to-four weeks to recover from a facelift, with patients being unable to work.
Bruising is often visible for two weeks.
It could take up to six-to-nine months to see the effects.
Common side effects include a puffy face, bruising, scars and a raised hairline.
The procedure carries the risk of blood collecting under the skin, nerve injury, hair loss, thick scars and asymetrical features.
As with all operations, it can also cause excessive bleeding, blood clots, infection and allergic reaction to the anaesthetic.
Figures show there were 5,600 facelifts carried out in the UK in 2012. It is unclear how many deaths are recorded from the procedure each year but the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons warns death is possible.
Source: NHS Choices
Ms Goldenberg claims to have done a lot of research into the risks involved with the procedure and is aware it becomes more dangerous with age.
‘There is a risk I could die during surgery but we are all going to die at some point and at least I will look good in my coffin,’ she said.
The octogenarian – who has two great-grandchildren – was recommended Dr Aamer Khan at the Harley clinic by her daughter after he performed two acid face peels and laser surgery on her.
‘My mum and her friends are of the time when celebrities would not admit to having cosmetic surgery,’ Ms Carter said.
‘They would swear by going to sleep with their hair pulled back to avoid wrinkles when they were secretly having surgery.
‘Now with new technology and safer procedures, it is more accessible to people – and less scary so why shouldn’t they benefit too?’
Ms Carter admits she is worried about how her mother will cope during the operation but is confident she is in safe hands.
‘Dr Khan is excellent at what he does and they have tailored her surgery to suit my mum’s age,’ she said.
‘It will be nice for my mum to look the best and feel the best she can.’
Ms Goldenberg began working at just 11 years old on a farm in southern Ireland where she would milk dairy cows – but had to give all her earnings to her mother.
She then moved to Wales at 14 where she worked as a nanny.
‘I have always worked really hard and now it is my time to enjoy it,’ Ms Goldenberg said.
She started saving for the procedure several years ago when she would put loose change into a giant Coca-Cola bottle she called ‘nan’s facelift fund!’.
Ms Goldenberg also feels passionately more services should be available to help combat loneliness in the elderly.
‘There should also be services which encourage older people to mix with younger people and try different things – rather than just playing bridge and Scrabble,’ she said.
Ms Goldenberg (pictured in her 40s with her now 42-year-old son Giles) has lived on her own for 38 years after her children fled the nest. She is separated from Giles’ father
Pictured right aged 23 with friends, Ms Goldenberg has dreamed of having a facelift for more than half a century since she first noticed wrinkles appearing in her mid twenties