Image of older people in 2024

DaftDad

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Apr 8, 2024
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Does anyone else think that social services, care home providers and others have a skewed image of what older people in 2024 are like? Their points of reference; their interests; their capabilities (with and without dementia)? There is still this perception of older people nowadays as having significant experience of, for example, WW2. My Dad is coming up for 85, he was born in 1939 just before the War started, so his "memories" of being bombed out in 1941 are actually not his memories. They are his recollections of his parents' memories and family discussions, and from the photo he has of the house with a massive hole in the roof. Most people in their 80s have little/no genuine recollection of the War, nor do people younger than this. I accept some people in their 90s and older may well have actual memories of this time, but these people are fewer in number.

Dad's formative years were mainly in the 1960s when he was in his 20s and hitting 30, and he'd done national service and was out having fun (sometimes too much of it). The 1960s were a time of great change, development, improvement in many ways. People now in their 80s potentially enjoyed nightclubs, concerts, free love (my Dad did plenty of that) etc. They didn't live the staid lives that many envisage of them.

Dad's professional career ran from the late 1950s to the early 2000s, periods of immense change and development. He adopted computer technology early, in the 80s. He acquired one of the first mobile phones available on the Orange network in the UK in the mid 90s, and his mobile number now is still the same as it was then, just with the extra '7' they added in 2001! He acquired tech for his BAHA that connected his mobile phone and television directly into his brain. Yet, social workers are astonished that Dad can still send emails (more or less) and use this as some kind of evidence of his dementia being less serious/advanced. He is still keen to use his mobile phone, but is forgetting how to, unfortunately. His last few Google searches include "how to send email" and "what is a voicemail" and "sent emails on 13.04.24", and he has started drafting emails over and over but not sending them, or then sending the same (more less) thing 4 or 5 times in a row.

It seems to me memory rooms in care home and hospitals need to be updated to reflect the changing demographic of the older people who are being catered for. The memories increasingly need to be more 1950s/60s era than 1930s/40s, and they might need to include tech items that were in use in the mid to late 20th century, as most people becoming in need of care will not have actual memory of these eras very soon.

I think professionals do need to remember when our current older generation grew up and spent their formative years. It's probably a bit more recently than they give credit for! When I get to be old and in need of memory rooms etc. I hope they will be reminding me of the 80s and 90s, not the 1940s, otherwise it will be VERY confusing! 😂
 

Collywobbles

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Feb 27, 2018
277
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Must admit it always irks me when I see events aimed at “the elderly” still playing Vera Lynn and going on about rationing. If anyone tries to make me sing ‘We’ll Meet Again’ when that day comes for me, I shall be demanding ‘Pretty Vacant’ or ‘Anarchy in the UK’!

My parents now in their early 80s, were teenagers in the late fifties. Even for them, nostalgia would be young Elvis and Bill Haley rather than the war (which ended when they were toddlers).
 

Lawson58

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Aug 1, 2014
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Victoria, Australia
Must admit it always irks me when I see events aimed at “the elderly” still playing Vera Lynn and going on about rationing. If anyone tries to make me sing ‘We’ll Meet Again’ when that day comes for me, I shall be demanding ‘Pretty Vacant’ or ‘Anarchy in the UK’!

My parents now in their early 80s, were teenagers in the late fifties. Even for them, nostalgia would be young Elvis and Bill Haley rather than the war (which ended when they were toddlers).
I was born in 1944 in Australia but I clearly remember that one or two things like butter were rationed for quite a while after the war. When you ran out of butter, people would try all sorts of things to make margarine palatable as it wasn’t remotely like modern day versions. It was atrocious.

I think that the fifties changed modern music before the Beatles came along but I don’t think that I am particularly nostalgic about those days. I would rather listen to classical music these days so we are not all the same. In spite of great social changes that occurred in the post war years, life was a lot more complicated than just having fun. Sadly, the conservative nature of the culture took a long time to adjust.

Those years were not as simple as people think they were. The world was changing in so many ways that we never really understood the impact that it would have. Things like the upheavals of the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the polio epidemics, the famines that occurred for years in Arica coloured our lives much more than the hippy movement which proved to be somewhat transient.

Changes in medicine such as the pill and vaccines such as the one for polio were unbelievably life changing and the contraceptive encouraged feminism as much as having the right to vote had decades before. Then there’s technology.

I don’t understand why care homes should be dated to reflect any particular decades. My husband unlike many PWD has little recollection of the first thirty years of his life. Now all he is interested in is bridge and country music.

There is also a wide age range of people in care so really it’s impossible to cater for everyone if you adhere to themes from a particular era. I don’t think the because I am 80 years old that I have to be like other 80 year olds, that I can be as different as I want to be and would be bored to the back teeth if I were subjected to Elvis and others from those earlier years. Or had to live with the decor that was incredibly hideous!
 

Collywobbles

Registered User
Feb 27, 2018
277
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Agreed @Lawson58 - we’re all different. For example, my mum has a soft spot for Nickelback and Status Quo. I can just imagine her response if we tried to play her classical music 🤣

And my Dad was the one with the Elvis records. Mum couldn’t stand him. Lonnie Donnegan and skiffle were more her thing as a teenager.
 

wurrienot

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Jul 25, 2023
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We had a young OT come to the house to encourage dad to do some chair exercises. She put some 'old' music on for him to move to. He wasn't impressed by Wham! or the Spice Girls. I did try to tell her that my children would be more familiar with her music choices but I just got a blank look.
 

Izzy

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Aug 31, 2003
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Dundee
I find this a really interesting discussion.

I was born in 1951 and I can relate to much of @DaftDad’s post. Having said that I’m secretary for a dementia choir and we have members, living with a diagnosis, who range from the age of 40 to the age of 90. They all seem to enjoy singing music from all eras You’ll be pleased that I’m not going to share the video clip of us trying to sing Bohemian Rhapsody!

The younger members wanted us to sing Eric Clapton songs but they also enjoy our Magic Moments and Fly Me To the Moon. At our concerts we have ABBA sections and sing Beatles songs as well as the oldies.

Personally I’m very nostalgic about the 60s and early 70s but I love all kinds of music. I don’t have experience of care homes but I agree with @Lawson58 in thinking they shouldn’t be trying to reflect different decades.
 

Lawson58

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Aug 1, 2014
4,422
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Victoria, Australia
Agreed @Lawson58 - we’re all different. For example, my mum has a soft spot for Nickelback and Status Quo. I can just imagine her response if we tried to play her classical music 🤣

And my Dad was the one with the Elvis records. Mum couldn’t stand him. Lonnie Donnegan and skiffle were more her thing as a teenager.
And I still love INXS and Billy Joel’s songs are timeless. I grew up with classical music and there was always a little money to go to symphony concerts, opera and ballet. I went to the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow and The Rites of Spring at Covent Garden (the lead dancers were both Australian).

Not so easy to go to any of them these days as I don’t live in Melbourne and it’s SOOOO expensive.

But our art galleries are free and open during daylight hours so easy to visit.
 
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DaftDad

Registered User
Apr 8, 2024
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I find this a really interesting discussion.

I was born in 1951 and I can relate to much of @DaftDad’s post. Having said that I’m secretary for a dementia choir and we have members, living with a diagnosis, who range from the age of 40 to the age of 90. They all seem to enjoy singing music from all eras You’ll be pleased that I’m not going to share the video clip of us trying to sing Bohemian Rhapsody!

The younger members wanted us to sing Eric Clapton songs but they also enjoy our Magic Moments and Fly Me To the Moon. At our concerts we have ABBA sections and sing Beatles songs as well as the oldies.

Personally I’m very nostalgic about the 60s and early 70s but I love all kinds of music. I don’t have experience of care homes but I agree with @Lawson58 in thinking they shouldn’t be trying to reflect different decades.
Dad is more interested in music that is much "older" than him, e.g. Ella Fitzgerald and jazz from the 20s and 30s. This is because his Dad was really into jazz and blues music and he listened to that as a child. He also enjoyed classical music, but the modern interpretations, e.g. Andrea Bocelli. I've always wanted to take Dad to see Andrea Bocelli, but his concerts are SO expensive!

His other interests are mainly football and wandering the world, hence his constant wandering now.
 

jennifer1967

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Mar 15, 2020
24,105
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Southampton
my husband wasnt born until after the war,1948, so all the old songs were before he was born. he really likes country and beach boys. now he likes anything with a beat from my influence. he sometimes "dad dances" as well which is funny. i think weve met in the middle, he doesnt mind my pop music and i dont mind his sixties music and all the decades in between. he also still likes meatloaf.
 

Blissy

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Jan 29, 2023
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My husband was born in 1935 so 10 years old when war ended but in his mind he took an active part and was the one that killed Hitler!
 

DaftDad

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Apr 8, 2024
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My husband was born in 1935 so 10 years old when war ended but in his mind he took an active part and was the one that killed Hitler!
Goodness! That's one heck of a delusion. My Dad is currently obsessed with the fact it was the anniversary of the liberation of Belsen recently. It's in his diary. He is convinced his uncle was the first British soldier into the camp. It's not implausible that he was involved in the liberation but he certainly wasn't first in. We have a lot of (very bad) WW2 family connections to the like of Belsen, unfortunately.
 

Blissy

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Jan 29, 2023
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Amazing isn't what the brain can conjure up. Must be something in the memory banks that get so twisted.
 

Agzy

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Nov 16, 2016
3,874
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Moreton, Wirral. UK.
I find this a really interesting discussion.

I was born in 1951 and I can relate to much of @DaftDad’s post. Having said that I’m secretary for a dementia choir and we have members, living with a diagnosis, who range from the age of 40 to the age of 90. They all seem to enjoy singing music from all eras You’ll be pleased that I’m not going to share the video clip of us trying to sing Bohemian Rhapsody!

The younger members wanted us to sing Eric Clapton songs but they also enjoy our Magic Moments and Fly Me To the Moon. At our concerts we have ABBA sections and sing Beatles songs as well as the oldies.

Personally I’m very nostalgic about the 60s and early 70s but I love all kinds of music. I don’t have experience of care homes but I agree with @Lawson58 in thinking they shouldn’t be trying to reflect different decades.
Although Pauline will sing her head off even to ‘War Time’ songs her complaint is that it is no good for dancing too!
 

Jessbow

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Mar 1, 2013
5,788
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Midlands
I think its quite difficult to get it right.
I was a early 60' baby- one of my hobbies is family history- i research family trees for people.
My 'timeline' is my parents born turn of 1930's, my grandparents early 1900's

For some, their grandparents are My age, and are back to 5 generations by 1900 .

I know what my M in law (93) likes in terms of Music genre, and what my late dad liked but further than that, it all kinda smooshes into 'music'
 

DaftDad

Registered User
Apr 8, 2024
64
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I think its quite difficult to get it right.
I was a early 60' baby- one of my hobbies is family history- i research family trees for people.
My 'timeline' is my parents born turn of 1930's, my grandparents early 1900's

For some, their grandparents are My age, and are back to 5 generations by 1900 .

I know what my M in law (93) likes in terms of Music genre, and what my late dad liked but further than that, it all kinda smooshes into 'music'
I'm in that weird generation thing. On my Dad's side, everyone married late and had children when relatively older. My Great-Grandad was born in 1865 and had his children in his 40s. His daughter, my Grandma and had my Dad when she was 31 (relatively older in the 1930s). My Dad didn't have me until he was 47. There are 20yrs age gap between my parents, so I have the weird situation whereby my maternal Grandparents were only 8/9 years older than my father. My maternal Grandparents were born in 1930 and 1931; my Dad in 1939. It's even more muddled and mixed because I was then a young parent and had my son when I was 16 (then another child at 31).

Our family cultural references are very different to what is typically associated with older people, as are our eclectic music tastes etc. I just find it curious that the "typical" activities that care homes and other support services seem to put on for older people and people with dementia, assume people have lived memory of events that they probably were barely born for.
 

jennifer1967

Registered User
Mar 15, 2020
24,105
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Southampton
I'm in that weird generation thing. On my Dad's side, everyone married late and had children when relatively older. My Great-Grandad was born in 1865 and had his children in his 40s. His daughter, my Grandma and had my Dad when she was 31 (relatively older in the 1930s). My Dad didn't have me until he was 47. There are 20yrs age gap between my parents, so I have the weird situation whereby my maternal Grandparents were only 8/9 years older than my father. My maternal Grandparents were born in 1930 and 1931; my Dad in 1939. It's even more muddled and mixed because I was then a young parent and had my son when I was 16 (then another child at 31).

Our family cultural references are very different to what is typically associated with older people, as are our eclectic music tastes etc. I just find it curious that the "typical" activities that care homes and other support services seem to put on for older people and people with dementia, assume people have lived memory of events that they probably were barely born for.
we have a bit the same in that my husband is 19 years older than me. my mum was 18months older than my husband and dad is 2 1/2 years older than my husband. when we had kids he was 40 and had our youngest when he was 47. so 3 generations in one family. the medics love it as they call me his daughter, our daughter is taken as his granddaughter. we do play along with it to a point then correct them. the horror on their face is priceless!!
 

Lawson58

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Aug 1, 2014
4,422
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Victoria, Australia
My brother was 51 when he was married to a girl of 19 years and their 5 month old son was in the church for the service. He was 5 years older than his father in law. He has three children , two live with him and the youngest with his mother.
 

Lawson58

Registered User
Aug 1, 2014
4,422
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Victoria, Australia
But to get back to the point of the original post, we are all so different with likes and hates quite diverse. Setting up a care home dedicated to a particular decade/s doesn’t really make any sense. Taste is a very personal thing but if you put me in a situation where I would be subjected to one particular brand of musif, I would be most unhappy. Don’t lump everybody into the same box.