Happy holidays

This is a brief note to thank you for your readership and support throughout 2016. In my last piece for this year these are my reflections and highlights of the year that’s been …

It’s been a busy year of reading, writing, and discovery. A personal journey that has led to my blog being incorporated into my website – a change you may have noticed with this piece. This summary gives you an overview of a few of the things I saw, read, and watched.

Live performance:

At the start of this year I had the privilege of watching a performance by 101-year-old Eileen Kramer, ambassador for The Arts Health Institute. Discovering that she not only choreographed the performance but also designed and made all the costumes was an inspiration for my own later life. Her performance was beautiful and the fluttering movement of her arms and hands simply mesmerizing.

Book:

I loved Ashton Applewhite’s book ‘This Chair Rocks’ as she challenged us all to rethink our attitudes, beliefs, behaviours, and own language around ageing. To be united in our fight against ageism. I recommend it as a great read over this holiday season.

Film:

Earlier this year a friend recommended I watch the movie ‘Still Mine’. It was a moving account of an elderly couple fighting for their independence, determined to do things “their way” despite their age and her increasing memory loss. Whilst some may perceive it as a little corny, part of what I enjoyed was the illumination of the daughter’s struggle with her parent’s perceived stubbornness and her desire for them to be “safe”. Whilst she thought a home would be the best place for her parents, her brother disagreed, and of course her parents had no interest in being anywhere other than on their property.

Technology:

I haven’t written about this much over the year.  I’ll aim to rectify that in the year ahead. This year I was fortunate to see some of the technology that’s currently available for us as we age. Robots that can translate between carer and patient and back again; virtual reality that is sometimes used in aged care facilities with patients taking them to places they’ve visited or would like to visit. Wearable technology that staff in aged care facilities can use that increases service quality, patient outcomes, and staff satisfaction. More recently I heard about wearable technology for individuals with dementia that enables their movements to be tracked on an iPad providing a level of freedom and independence they may not previously have experienced. If technology can deliver those outcomes then I look forward to seeing what’s next.

Brag:

A small brag of my own work …

Towards the end of this year I presented at a research conference and received an overwhelming response to my challenge to the industry to change their surveys because existing practice is for the last tick box for age to be either 60+ or 65+. This assumes that everyone over that age is the same in terms of needs, wants, lifestyle, and behaviours (the equivalent of suggesting that a 20 year old is the same as a 40 year old for example). The implications of this practice is that organisations don’t get the insights about the differences amongst older people, potentially limiting the products, services, and communication campaigns that are designed and delivered to us. I was particularly pleased to have some researchers tell me the following day that they had changed their surveys as a direct result of my talk. If you’re interested, this is a 3 minute excerpt of the presentation.

Finally …

I’m planning a quiet family Christmas before disappearing to the country where there’s no mobile or internet coverage or landline. So, until the new year …

I wish you, your friends, family, and loved ones a holiday break filled with love, laughter, joy, and kindness. I look forward to sharing more of my discoveries and insights in 2017.