Browse “Aging Service Organization”

Older Adults Celebrate LGBT Identity, Pride in Art Exhibit, Book

This article examines “Not Another Second” a joint project of Watermark Communities and Sage, the oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBT older people.

“Not Another Second” stands for the collective time in which featured older adults either “lived double lives” or suppressed their true identities.”  This concept provided the framework for a multimedia project that included “an interactive photographic art exhibit, a 14-minute video, a 148-page coffee-table book and a website.”

The goal of the project was “to show the diversity, impact, and importance of older adults and what they have learned.”  The exhibit was launched at a Watermark residence in Brooklyn NY in January 2021 and is traveling to other Watermark communities around the country.  Other similar projects are planned by the exhibit organizers.

“Not Another Second” offers creative aging programmers and teaching artists a resource for program development.  It demonstrates the power of documenting the lives of LGBTQ+ individuals, especially those whose lives have been at least partially hidden or suppressed.

A National Survey of Adults 45 and Older: Loneliness and Social Connections

In 2018 AARP commissioned “A National Survey of Adults 45 and Older: Loneliness and Social Connections.” Among the findings was a startling statistic: 1/3 of US adults ages 45 and over feel lonely. Other facts, related to LGBTQ+ adults, also stood out.  “… LBGTQ status plays a role in loneliness. Midlife and older adults who identify as LGBTQ are more likely to be lonely (49%) compared to those who do not (35%).”

Researchers representing diverse disciplines agree on the negative consequences of loneliness, including impacts on health, confidence, sense of well-being and resilience. The study is a useful reference for those beginning or developing site-based programming for 50+ adults.

The study findings are also important for museum and library programmers seeking evidence to support and shape their work to build stronger connections with older LGBTQ+ audiences.  Based on this study, such work can help improve the quality of life for older LGBTQ+ adults.

The People’s Story Intergenerational Theatre

The People’s Story was a history project that took place in two English communities, Enfield Island and Edmonton. It was developed and implemented by Age Exchange, a pre-eminent advocacy organization for positive aging and creative aging.

Age Exchange carries out numerous arts activities with and for older adults and has developed its own approach to reminiscence art. The People’s Story project employed a wide variety of documentation, participatory activities, reminiscence workshops, music, and performances, with the goal of helping residents reclaim or re-imagine the history of the two towns. The project was inclusive, aiming to involve as many members of the community as possible, including younger people.

An intergenerational theatrical production was a key project element. It was the culmination of other elements, including interviews, recordings, workshops, and an exhibit. People participated in the theatrical production who had never acted before. A youth group and an older people’s group were taught new skills in performance and shown how “to transform a memory into a scene or a song.” Interaction between the younger and older members of the cast was intensive, especially during the many rehearsals and two performances. This project stands as an example of how a creative aging organization can adapt its tools for working with older people to an intergenerational situation. All participants were equal in the endeavor and all benefited in multiple ways.

Meeting the Multigenerational Moment

A 2021 issue of The Stanford Social Science Review, titled “Meeting the Multigenerational Moment,” offered a set of 8 essays exploring, “how fresh thinking and new social arrangements hold the potential to make the most of an increasingly multigenerational society.” The Introduction to the essays, titled “Overcoming Age Segregation,” by Marc Freedman and Trent Stamp, examines “how social innovation can reshape a century of generational separation in the United States, and bring together the talents of young and old to improve life for all.” This piece, and other essays in the set, provide an intellectual context for practitioners, researchers and advocates working to develop or advance art-based intergenerational programs.

There’s Always Hope

From the website:

There’s Always Hope is a San Francisco and Honolulu-based firm specializing in promoting age-friendly environments positive aging and better health span. We do this by helping people enrich their life and career through personal enrichment, health education and professional development programs.

Wartburg’s Council for Creative Aging & Lifelong Learning

From the website:

Wartburg’s Council for Creative Aging & Lifelong Learning allows nearly 500 seniors in our Westchester, NY, assisted living, memory care, nursing home and home health care programs to express themselves through art, song, theater, poetry and oral histories. The classes are customized to best meet the diverse physical and cognitive abilities of each group.