In Leeds, it’s time to feel good about ageing
Getting older brings many benefits. According to Age Proud Leeds, it’s time to feel good about ageing and to create a more positive narrative around older age. With this new campaign, Age Proud Leeds wants to celebrate the lives that older people lead and the contributions that they make.
Global studies (Blanchflower and Oswald, 2008) into happiness have shown that wellbeing is highest in the early and later stages of life. Happiness is at its lowest point around middle age, starts to increase after the age of 50, and continues to increase as people move through older age:
“Most people over 80 report being just as happy, if not happier, than their younger counterparts” (This Chair Rocks, Ashton Applewhite, 2019)
Stories in the media about ‘ageing populations’, usually typify older people as a drain on society. However, the evidence actually shows that older people contribute huge amounts:
“Older people are not just recipients, they are contributors. They are not just helped by volunteers, they are the volunteers. This growing proportion of our population should not be seen as an issue but as an asset” (A New Narrative on Ageing, EngAgeNet, 2018)
The narrative throughout the Covid-19 pandemic has portrayed older people as frail, vulnerable and dependent. Yet our experience has been that many older people are resilient, approach difficult situations with positivity, and have valuable experience to share. Many are still working and volunteering or have turned to new hobbies and learned new skills.
An Age Friendly approach
Not everything about getting older is positive. At some point we all face difficulties, with our health, finances or in our relationships. But these are things that can affect people at any age. If we work together to create Age and Dementia Friendly communities that adapt to our changing needs, this will help people to remain healthy, independent and connected as they age.
A campaign to get people talking about ageism
The campaign has explored how ageism affects people of all ages. They have looked at what ageism does to us, how it can affect our health, wealth, access to services and our attitudes to ourselves. They have spent time celebrating the diversity of older people and how ageism affects us all differently.
A campaign to change the narrative
They are now focusing on the positives, asking people to help in changing the story of older age. You can get involved by:
- Tell us one good thing about ageing! The process of growing older brings many positives – whether it’s more time, contentment, grandchildren – share your ‘good things’ with us.
- Celebrate an older person! We invite you to celebrate an older person – it could be your grandma, someone famous, a historic figure or even a fictional character!
Age Proud Leeds is a campaign to raise awareness of ageism and change negative attitudes about ageing and older people. It is led by Leeds Older People’s Forum (as part of Time to Shine) with our partners in Leeds City Council, the NHS in Leeds, the Centre for Ageing Better and the voluntary sector. The campaign runs from October 2019 to March 2021.