George Bernard Shaw said ‘we don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing’. But what exactly is it that makes us stop playing? Unfortunately, we often conform to certain ‘age-appropriate’ behaviours against our instinct.
In our culture, live music and dancing is often perceived to be the domain of youth. It is common amongst people in their 30s to use their increasing age as a reason to opt out of music festivals and clubbing; they will often blame the volume of music or overcrowding but the excuse that’s really worrying is – ‘it makes me feel old’. Surely music has always been a subjective pursuit; an individual’s relationship to music should only get richer with the passing of time. Why should anyone be self-conscious about dancing just because there are other people in the room who have lived shorter lives than them?
Inspired by the unerring verve of our special elderly guests, Disco Pete and Dancing Ann, we decided to bring the generations of Brighton together at a community event in September called TIMELESS, which celebrated a shared passion for music throughout the ages.
Our aim is to encourage further nationwide collaboration between ageing and younger communities, exploring areas of common ground while celebrating the richness of each generation.
Isolation and the decline of community is one of the most significant challenges facing the UK in the 21st century. Yet loneliness is difficult for people to admit, especially for younger generations who are not stereotypically associated with it. There are many ways a person can end up lonely – moving away from home, changing jobs, relationship break downs, full-time childcare, loss of purpose, not being needed anymore and, of course, bereavement.
In an increasingly ageing society, elderly people often end up spending most of their twilight years alone, with mobility issues meaning they have less control over finding new companions. Evidence states that 3.1 million people aged over 65 have no contact with a friend, neighbour or family member in any one week and over 1.8 million do not see anyone they know in a month.
These are terrifying stats, which is why we raise funds for the incredible local charity Time To Talk Befriending.
Time To Talk Befriending
Time To Talk Befriending matches volunteers with vulnerable older people and works to raise awareness of the mutually rewarding benefits of bridging the gap between generations with strong, long-lasting friendships. Read more on the charity here.
Sophie Tanner at firstname.lastname@example.org
With thanks to:
Brighton’s music event for all generations, TIMELESS, took place at Brighton Music Hall on Saturday 17th September.
Huge thanks to the following musical acts in order of appearance:
- The Dave Williams Swing Band
- Sam Moffett
- The Soul Steppers
- The Weapons Of Mass Seduction