There is definitely something in this. The idea of older people working with still older people. The culture has been fixed for a very long time on intergenerational work and there is some brilliant stuff around. There is also some really bad stuff around (I know, I’ve done some of it). Take younger people teaching older people about going online. Really bad plan, generally. As an older person I know, when there’s a little bright spark at your elbow going “See? and then you just (*?????$*£&$*$&$????)” “Oh I understand,” says the older person, none the wiser but far too embarrassed to ask AGAIN what that bright spark just did on the computer “thank you for explaining everything so clearly.”
I was speaking to the activities worker at Willesden Court about intergenerational visits from local schools. “They love seeing the children who come in and sing. But it’s not possible for them to have any kind of relationship with the children. The children like coming in and singing but are really shocked by the language of some of the residents – c words, f words – some of them talk about sex a lot and it’s not really possible for them to be around children.” Of course the ten members of Bolder Voices who go to the residential home have no problem with this at all. They may not be wild about the language but they understand it, they’ve heard it all before, they’ve lived.
Our format is working. Why am I surprised? Ten really lovely sociable people, come to visit and chat. With so many, it’s possible to have one to one relationships. Bolder Voices do stretchy exercises, teach a new song. We add choreography to the song we wrote about things they like. Andy’s golden fingers can play anything and today we had lots of wild Calypso dancing. We all just had a really, really good time.