As part of our project to embed creative arts practice into our work with older people, we ran a special training day for a group of artists and volunteers.
The training, which was designed by specialist trainers from Age UK, gave the participants information and strategies, and covered working with older people with specific needs including those who have difficulties with mobility, visual impairment, loss of hearing, Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Through a series of simulations participants were able to get a sense of what it feels like to have some of these conditions. Tasks included making conversation with someone wearing silencer earmuffs to experience what it feels like to communicate with reduced hearing; and walking about whilst wearing a range of goggles that mimicked the effect of some of the different conditions which reduce vision. Taking part in these activities helped to give participants a better understanding of some of the conditions many older people live with and to consider how they could respond to these issues in their work and practice.
The next stage of the project will see the artists using the knowledge they gained from the training to develop creative activities which will allow older people to overcome some of the barriers they face to participating and enable them to engage with architecture and the built environment.
This project has been funded by Arts Council England.