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Celebrating International Day of Older Persons

Posted October 1st 2020 by Kate

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Celebrating older people in our communities

Passion for making a difference

Today, on International Day of Older Persons, I’ve been reflecting on just a few of the different ways older people are contributing to their communities. Older people have helped shape every phase of thousands of community projects across Scotland and helped them to continue through the Covid-19 pandemic.

It feels important to recognise that many, many older people have been working hard to connect and support others’ in their communities. This includes older people who need some support themselves – care goes in multiple directions! While the media paints a picture of older people only being ‘cared for’, we know they have been making a huge impact as carers, community-builders and organisers, activists, experts, professionals, and as individual people with experiences and skills to share.

What stands out is the range of contributions made by older people and the willingness for sharing experiences, matched with a passion for learning new things and ‘giving it a go’.

Rural Wisdom: older people creating community change

Our Rural Wisdom project places the voice of older people at the forefront – setting the direction of travel and leading the way for better rural communities for everyone.

In Eaglesham and Waterfoot we heard that older people wanted better communication and stronger connections across the whole community. This would make way for stronger relationships, more opportunities and ultimately more choice for people who want to stay in their local village.

We shared these ideas across the whole of the community and people of all ages told us that they agreed. This was the beginning of our Community Connections project which specifically focused on these ideas and brought together individuals, groups, businesses to make it happen.

Sharing strengths and community connections

This image shows some of the different roles I have seen older people taking on in their communities recently.

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Social Connections

“You need to speak to Tom, he knows how to do that. I’ll email him now.”

Bright ideas

“We’ve been thinking that we need a space where people can just get together for a chat, we’ve got some ideas about a chatty cafe.”

Supporting Change

“Let’s meet up, we’ll work it out together and make a start.”

Challenging Stigma

“Yes, so I have dementia, but there’s still lots that I can be doing to get things going and I want people to see that.”


“That’s a fantastic idea – give it ago and let me know if you need a hand with anything.”

Adapting and Improving

“We loved that workshop, the history group are going to do something similar with all our resources.”

We would love to hear your experiences as or about older people leading in their communities! What are you doing to celebrate this International Day of Older Persons?

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