Although I am getting on a bit (or so my roots tell me) I would not quite consider myself elderly just yet. I do however have quite a lot in common with the elderly, and I’m not just talking my ‘Amy Farrah Fowler’ granny chic and fondness for prunes (they really are sooo good!). Speaking of The Big Bang Theory, here’s the science bit. I promise it is short, painless, and those who read will be rewarded with chocolate.
Most people, when they hear the word ‘disabled’ think of the medical model, which states that people are ‘disabled’ by their impairments or differences. Those who subscribe to the medical model believe that people with impairments or differences should be ‘fixed’ to fit in with society, and the world as it is. This places almost no onus on the rest of the world to accommodate the needs of those who need extra support.
The social model is, in my opinion, the ‘true’ definition of disability, and the reason that I have absolutely no issues with describing myself as a disabled person. The social model states that we are disabled by society and the way it is organised. It identifies barriers within society, and looks to remove them, giving people with disabilities more control over their own lives, greater independence, and an equal footing within society. It is in deference to this that the elderly and the disabled are often spoken about in the same breath. Without greater knowledge of the things that are holding us back and just how we push past them, it is easy to stagnate and not move forward in life as we would like.
The Breaking Barriers campaign by Bathing Solutions aims to do just this.
For one of the first times in history we are about to see the number of our senior generation surpass that of the youth, with those 65 and up making up 15.6% of the global population by 2050!
Advances in healthcare and standards of living have improved quality and length of life for older generations, but it has us asking, ‘Why does society often cast off its seniors as ‘incapable’ or ‘unable’ to learn new skills?’
Times are changing and it’s time for us to change too, breaking the stigma and encouraging each other to take action and get inspired to learn new skills or tricks of the trade.
Through skills sharing resources and local community courses, over 65’s can learn photography, computer skills, foreign languages and a whole host of other skills. Retirement is not what is was 30 years ago, and I think that the move towards active seniors who use this time to realise their dreams and do new things is a fantastic shift. Just like the disabled community, older people want to make the most of their lives and do not accept the myth that retirement is a time to sit in a comfy chair and watch countdown (though I am also quite partial to this option on my days off). I for one am hugely excited to see what both groups of people have to offer, and the change they can illicit in the world.
Do you have any skills you could share with others?
Is there something on your ‘bucket list’ that you would love to try or to learn?