Creative Ageing Sydney
Presentation excerpt by Chris Mead – Creative Ageing Sydney Conference 2015
We have the creative influence to create agency in ageing and there is a somewhat silent agenda that you and I know,
That we don’t all want to play bingo on Wednesdays and we don’t all want to stich and sew.
We share the same fear as anybody of the future of institutionalised care,
And we want to make it better before we “get in there”.
Life is about the boxes getting smaller until we get the call for the six-footer.
The transitions of later life present the reality, that choices seem few.
As consumer directed care evolves, will the mould still leave us socially isolated?
Container care in our boxes, ageing in place.
And the man in the street may not want to connect with the creative ageing that we want to share,
Because he’s too busy channel surfing in his vinyl reclining chair,
With his like-minded LED mates who are fake, in a box. But they give him solace.
It’s been a really long time since he’s walked in a forest.
And what if the middle class social care models aren’t reaching the most vulnerable.
The public sector purse is pinning money to a tree, for the ill health ramifications of the socially isolated and lonely.
Ignore intergenerational poverty and disadvantaged communities seems to be poor economic sense.
Poor economic sense to have the invisible triple their hospital visitations,
Increase their chances of heart disease, early dementia and age care admissions.
Perhaps good economic sense is in fostering positive social ecologies.
Present choice, opportunity;
For our seniors to be connected to what they value and care about.
Family, purpose, sense of place in our community,
Flourish in their own decision making capacity,
Creatively heightening their own visibility.
May we be influenced by best practise arts and research,
Speak to the audience in their own language,
And assume that wealth of impact cannot be achieved by working in silos.
State arts as the complimentary prescription,
That sits alongside therapeutic and pharmaceutical means and not threatening to replace them.
Let’s make creative ageing mainstream and visible,
Work strategically to show what is possible,
Demonstrate economic value for our interventions,
So key decision makers with be influenced by our actions.