Friday, 1 July 2016

Breaking Barriers In Old Age

Our population is changing. With advanced health care, better standards of living and increased knowledge of how we can live longer, those 65 and up will be making up 15.6% of the global population by 2050.

I firmly believe however we should be celebrating our the elderly neighbours. Older people are an asset to our community not a drain. Think of all the life experience they have, the world events they have lived through, the skills they have learnt. Society often likes to see the elderly as 
 'incapable' or 'unable' to learn new skills, but is that really the case? 

Women over 75 have had the largest rise as a group in learning to use the internet

There is an idea that the Internet is not being used by the elderly but did you know that women 75 and over, are the group with the largest rise in internet use, since 2011 up 169.0%, according to the Office For National Statistics. Don't forget the Internet as we know it was not really around until the late 90's, a long time after those over the age of 75 left school, but as you can see there is not reluctance to learn. 

Empowering the elderly to learn new skills is an excellent idea and one in which I am fully supporting through the #BreakingBarriers campaign from Bathing Solutions - a specialist in easy access bathrooms for the elderly and those with mobility issues.


A little trepidation is natural when learning something new, some people can lack confidence and that coupled with a lack of access to courses can make finding courses and learning new skills more difficult. The Breaking Barriers campaign helps you find community courses local to you. What about learning a new language, digital photography, beginners yoga or studying for a certificate in horticulture? 


Learning a new activity like salsa or ballroom dancing can keep you physically and mentally active

Lifelong learning is important to keep your mind and body active and research backs this up. Denise Park, lead researcher from The Association of Psychology Science states, “It seems it is not enough just to get out and do something—it is important to get out and do something that is unfamiliar and mentally challenging, and that provides broad stimulation mentally and socially,”




The Milkmaid by Vermeer, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

My mother-in-law is one of the elderly population that is breaking barriers. Nearly 80 she attends a variety of courses such as art appreciation and computing. When we were in Amsterdam at the Rijksmuseum, she was the one sitting down and making notes about the art so she could share with her art group, not me.  She is always learning something new, enjoying the challenges that this brings and and meeting up with her friends whilst making new ones through the courses she does. She is firmly of the opinion that you are never too old to learn.

Times are changing and it's time for us to change too, abolishing the stigma of old age and valuing the elderly, and encouraging others to learn something new. You never know we may learn something great from those that are older that us! 


* PR collaboration
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19 comments

  1. I think it;s so important to embrace, celebrate and champion all stages of life.

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  2. This is such a lovely post. My gran had a heart operation last year but already she walked over an hour to my house last weekend!

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    1. That's great that she is managing that level of exercise after a heart operation Hayley.

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  3. This is such a beautiful, truthful post.
    Thank you. It's a very important message to put across xx

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  4. Such an informative and lovely post, my nan uses the Internet quite often, she is in her 80's. She always manages to lock herself out of her email though!

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    1. Great that she is using the Internet all the time. I must admit I have problems with my email on time :)

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  5. Lovely post, my boyfriend's grandad is really good on a laptop! x

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    1. I think the Internet can help with isolation too, there are so many social media sites such as the obvious ones like Facebook that are brilliant for people of all ages to socialise. Other sites like Gransnet are brilliant too for liked minded people to chat online and I think they arrange meet ups as well.

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  6. This is lovely. We all have to get old but it shouldn't mean life should stop x

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  7. I work in a care home so I definitely appreciate how important it is for older people to keep learning new skills! My Nan is in her 80s and has a laptop and the internet, although all she really does is read the news, bless her <3

    Jess xo | The Indigo Hours

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    1. It's great that she has no issues using the internet.

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  8. I think it's great elderly people using the internet and learning new things! This is a lovely post and a great message to get out there!! xx

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  9. I Love the Elderly. There is a 80+ old lady who lives on the bottom floor of my building and me and my 19 month old visit her each week. She is great to chat to, though can be stuck in her ways a lot and tries to tell me how to do things with my daughter that I just don't agree with.
    I do agree and think more elderly should be doing more than sitting in and watching Tv, doing the crosswords though. Life should not stop because you get old.

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    1. We could learn a lot from people in their 80's with life experience.

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  10. This is a good initiative. My own grandmother is a good example of this. She's in better fitness shape and looks younger than many of my own friends' mothers. She does yoga and walks miles everyday. She's IT literate, we Skype every week and although she doesn't have a great love of travel, a few years ago she flew across the Atlantic to come to my wedding, despite having breast cancer and being days away from her surgery and having lost her husband just a couple of months before.

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    1. Your grandmother sounds a strong lady and full of life.

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  11. Such a great post. I think the older generation need to be celebrated and helped as much as we can. I got my nan a new phone recently and have been helping her use it and it's amazing how much more alert she has been using it x

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