A few weeks ago, we launched our “Here We Grow” project with No bindings (https://www.nobindings.co.uk/archives) . This audio and visual project sought to use the stories and art of older people in Bristol to answer the question “What makes a city the kind of place where you can grow older and be an older person?”
The booklets and the podcast are truly motivating and at the launch we heard more stories and opinions from three older people who contributed to the project. Their experiences were different and varied, but the common theme that inspired me most was that of wisdom.
During the Questions, one audience member told the panel that as an older person in this fast paced modern world, they didn’t feel that they had any wisdom that would be of any use to other generations. There was a collective gasp and one by one, the panel members commented, each setting out why the wisdom of community elders is key to moving forward a community.
One of the contributors, Carole, noted that “Just by living your life and setting an example in this world, you are passing on wisdom”.
This really connected with me and with the work of BAB. We have a clear focus of tackling isolation and loneliness, but much of this in connected to self-confidence and self-worth. If people feel that they are valued, and that their wisdom is of benefit to others, they feel appreciated, loved and included.
This is what we are trying to do. It is not as simple as finding a “model” that tackles isolation and loneliness. We must change the system and focus on increasing society’s value of older people. Our Age friendly Bristol project aims to make those changes necessary for this city to be great place to grow old and a great place for older people to contribute to their communities, and be valued for it.
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