I mentioned in a recent blog post that I’m VERY comfortable with the idea of getting older…

I lied.

But if you’ve read the post, you’ll know that I was being sarcastic.

I’m an excessively introspective person so every time I get an unpleasant feeling about something or someone, I get very (very) curious about where it came from, and what may have triggered it. In the words of Socrates, ‘the unexamined life isn’t worth living.’ But also, living in your own head for too long is not a wise move either folks. Don’t overanalyse ;-).

Everyone is petrified of getting old, right?

I obviously can’t answer that. I could probably reference some highly reliable research that tells me – for the most part – ‘yes’ or ‘no’. But then where does that leave you and your personal perspective?

Think about your response, and yours only.

Jumping in at number one on my list of concerns is that I’ll look over my shoulder, at the years that were, and think, ‘I did it ALL WRONG. I’VE PROPER MESSED THIS ONE UP.
Can I try again please? Pretty please?!

And then I’ll think, ‘I’m not too late for therapy though, right?’

On my projected pension rate, I won’t even be having a funeral, never mind therapy.

This is assuming I reach my wrinkly years of course…

Ok, so what exactly am I worried about? I worry about being disconnected. About loneliness. And being forgotten about. Blah blah blah. And there’s no urge (right now anyway, at 23:55 on a Friday night) to have children, therefore, I’m pretty much destined for a solitary armchair existence, before eventually becoming the armchair, because no-one will know when I’ve died.

I’m being dramatic.

However, having a family comes with no guarantees. My self-made minions may not venture over to visit Mum or Granny in her armchair (before she’s become the armchair).

Old age is not a right. It’s a privilege. However, in Scotland right now, loneliness and isolation is a stark reality for 100,000 older people. My concern is a reality for far too many people.

This also means that I’m also deeply concerned that the country is just not at all prepared to address the needs of the fast-growing senior population.

And I want to do something to help.

What are the models of care for tomorrow to ensure that we are helping individuals with the aging experience?

My new job has sparked my interest in intergenerational projects and models of working.

Did you catch #OldPeoplesHome4yo shown on Channel 4 on 1 & 2nd August?

It was inspired by a revolutionary project in the US, and this is the first one its kind to be trialled in the UK. Ten 4 year-olds moved into the St Monica Trust Retirement Home, and their 6 week stay challenged the way we look after our ageing community. At the start of the experiment, the residents raced a variety of tests aimed at measuring mood, mobility and memory.

– 1/3 showed signs of depression
– almost 9/10 found life unexciting

The experts designed a programme of group activities to assess if mental and physical health could be improved.

Their results?

– 70% of residents had improved scores on mood
– 80% had improved mobility

The older people reported enjoying life and feeling more active.
Could this be the future of elderly care?

The results seem to be very powerful and show that ageing better in the future is about more than medical solutions.

Right now I’m working on a digital inclusion project to get older people connected. I want to address acute social isolation as well as the lack of physical and emotional stimulation for people in my local community.

I floated the idea with my gran, as she sat in her hospital bed with Rogue Traders blaring in the background, and her face lit up. She said, ‘we can arrange it for the same evening each week, and connect with each other inbetween sessions!’

The position of Assistant Project Manager has been fulfilled people. #watchthisspace

If you’re reading this and can offer any support/guidance please do get in touch – I’d love to hear from you. I need to track down a few spare laptops for starters :-).

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. ~ Steve Jobs

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