I helped out with a Wise Up to Ageism webinar recently. As we got to Older, different, equal, and considered the diversity of people in older age I reflected that I hadn’t yet shared the learning report on ‘Working with younger older people’ with you.
Older people are diverse. Ageing and ageism affect us differently. Grouping all older people together and assuming that their lives are all the same is misleading and can leave some older people out of the conversation.
Some of Time to Shine’s delivery partners deliberately set out to work with younger older people – from the point of view of the funder (the National Lottery Community Fund) this is the group of older people aged 50-70. Projects initially had thoughts about preventing social isolation when working with this group, or recruiting younger people to support the much older and frailer within neighbourhood networks. In the end, although these were outcomes of some of those projects, what the projects brought into focus was the feeling that age, the effects of ageing, and ageism indeed don’t affect everyone equally.
Those who needed support at this age had complex needs, be it chronic illness, chronic poverty, or a sudden change in their personal circumstances.
With person-centred work treating people as individuals, many people were happy to engage with a range of projects, and did step up to help those much older people, as the Covid-19 pandemic meant many of them had to give up volunteering.
Learning Facilitator, Time to Shine