Age and ageing are what preoccupy me. I am a baby boomer, who at the age of 63, is at a crossroads and place of transition. I want to embrace and engage with the changes I find myself living with and within. More conscious of the road ahead than I have been before, I see where and how ageism is rife. Older people – particularly older people without money, means, status or stature, become labelled, separated, segregated and othered. We are thought of as less than, our lives considered not to mean as much as a younger life, to matter less and be less valued. Our changing physicality is seen as a problem. As time increases we are stripped of agency, infantilised and can be literally locked away. We know this isn’t right but we have let it happen.
I plan to make a series of short films that each circle around an area of personal concern. Things I ruminate on, worry about, rage about, things that sit heavy, and things that sing with joy. An autobiographical archaeological dig that connects with the collective and social politics of the times we are living in:
- Care – reclaiming care as a positive force for society, and away from relentlessly uniform and reductive associations with deficits, needs and burdens; on rethinking about the economics of care; on caring and being cared for as a human concern
- Home –on the urgent need for new models of homes and housing and ways of living; on the current care home crisis and how on earth we have let it continue to happen
- Belonging – on being valued and having validity; on mattering; on contributing connecting and interconnection; on community; on having a place in the world
- Body – on embracing physical change as neither negative or positive but just the way it is, on maintaining agency and autonomy, on attitudes and expectations; on how to live until we die; on a good death
- Materiality – on matter mattering, on the memory of objects, places, spaces and time; on the felt sense; on the things we need around us
We are a society with a vastly changing demographic. There are soon going to be many more of us older people, more than we have known before. If we are to flourish, we need to act now. We need to be active co-creators in building a future, not just for ourselves, for all of us. Can we dream of saying with confidence and joy – bring it on, I can’t wait to get wait to be living my ripe old-age?
I hope this is a beginning, with potential and possibility to grow into something bigger, involve other voices, people and places in creating and actualising change in our attitudes, understandings, our systems and our ways of life.
UPDATE: Films can be found here: Who Will Dance With Me When I am Old? Not as originally planned but what emerged in response to lockdown 2020
Be in touch anytime
Image Credits: Neil Walker, Janice Parker, Ruth Clark,