Mental Health and the Arts

“Age UK’s recent Wellbeing Index went so far as to say that social and civic participation and creative and cultural participation are hugely important, together making up almost 1/8th of total wellbeing in later life. Furthermore, research by the Arts Council England in 2016 found that 76% of older people said arts and culture was important in making them feel happy, while over half of those surveyed said that arts and culture helped them to meet other people as well as encouraging them to get out and about. Meanwhile, the Mental Health Foundation discovered increased confidence and self-esteem amongst participants that were engaged in forms of participatory art.”

Research suggests that arts and culture are vital to older people’s mental health and wellbeing. We investigate the research and discuss some of the barriers to participation for older people.

An Age Friendly Strategy for Culture in London?

“Older people engage with culture for a similar range of reasons to younger people, and people’s motivations are not necessarily quantifiable. But there are also clearly identified personal and social benefits. There is a growing understanding of the psychological, cognitive and physical health benefits of active involvement in the arts for older people. Even simply being able to be an audience member may have a positive impact on someone’s social inclusion and psychological state.”

The Mayor is consulting on a draft London Cultural Strategy: Culture for all Londoners. How age friendly does it look so far? Here are some initial thoughts

Entelechy Arts 21st Century Tea Dance

Entelechy Arts – Growing Older Creatively

“Entelechy Arts’ weekly programmes have given people the opportunity to uncover forgotten or hidden skills and aspirations. The company now works with a network of over two hundred older singers, actors, poets, dancers, artists: ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Work has happened in the lounges of sheltered housing schemes, community halls and arts centres. One of Entelechy Arts’ projects, Walking Through Walls, supports older residents living in care homes to get creative where they live as well as outside within the wider community.”

This May, Entelechy Arts are hosting a Royal Wedding 21st Century Tea Dance in the refurnished Queen Elizabeth Halls in London’s Southbank Centre. Find out all about the event and the ways in which the arts dramatically improve the wellbeing of older Londoners.

Gangsta Granny

Gangsta Granny!

Today is an exciting day for us at Age UK London – we’re heading down to the Garrick Theatre in the West End to raise funds at the matinee showing of Gangsta Granny! If you’re at the show today be sure to say hello to our group of volunteers who’ll be collecting to make sure that we can continue to make the voices of older Londoners as loud as possible.

Seeing as Gangsta Granny is set to run until September 3rd, we thought it’d be fun to tell you a little more about the show and discuss the lessons it teaches us.

Film Blog 3

Ageism in Film #10 – What I’ve Learned

“My four and a half years at Age UK London have indeed gone by in the blink of an eye. McCartney claims that life does too. Ethel & Ernest, and many of the other films I’ve seen this year, showed me that he’s right. We’re all ageing. I’ll be 30 in just over a month. Turning 50, 60, 70, 80 or 90 feels like a lifetime away. But it’s only the blink of an eye. After all, just yesterday George and I chatted about the fact that we still think of 1998 as being ‘only the other year’!

Working for Age UK London has, genuinely, taught me that all of us have to fight for older people. ”

Over the last year Danny Elliott has been writing a blog series called Ageism in Film. In his final article he reflects on what he’s learned about film and the age sector.

Glastonbury

Age Allies – Glastonbury and the Perception of Ageing

“When you think of older people what is the image that springs to mind? Where did this image come from? On what is it based? Do you judge all older people from the perspective of that image?

From what I can see now, Glastonbury has changed almost beyond recognition. But then, how would I know? The notion that any music festival can be experienced remotely on TV is absurd. It would be superficial. Judging by appearance is always unsatisfactory as it can never tell the whole story.”

With the papers suggesting the best place to watch Glastonbury is from your sofa, Richard Norman asks if he’d feel out of place at the festival at his age and looks into the ways that society’s perception of older people is often shaped by appearance.

Tongue Tied & Twisted

Tongue Tied & Twisted

“Tongue Tied & Twisted is a wonderfully warm and entertaining storytelling show. It’s origins are rooted in South Asian folk tales yet it transcends boundaries and suitable for all audiences, regardless of background. After touring to festivals in UK and Europe, it is now tours to London at the iconic and politically important South Asian arts organisation called Tara Arts as part of 70 shows presented during the year of 70th Anniversary of Indian’s Independence.”

Earlier on this month, we caught up with Producer Dawinder Bansal to discuss her latest project – a storytelling theatre show called Tongue Tied & Twisted. Dawinder explains how the show was created and why it is important to record elders’ stories and memories.

Tea Dance 1

A 21st Century Tea Dance at the Albany

“It has changed me completely. After my heart attack I didn’t know what to do. I was looking for the right path to take. Now I’m doing and enjoying things and meeting more people than I ever have. It’s up to you how much you want to give – you can take it as far forward as you want. I’m never bored anyway, always busy. Arts and culture have an incredible impact on the individual.”

Danny Elliott takes a brief break from our regular series on ageism in film to tell us all about his trip to a 21st Century Tea Dance at the Albany in Deptford.

Mother Tongues from Farther Lands

Mother Tongues from Farther Lands

This month, British theatre producer Dawinder Bansal launches a brand new theatre show Mother Tongues from Farther Lands. The uplifting, inspiring and emotion-filled show has real stories of South Asian women relayed by female celebrities in a series of gripping monologues. The four-city show was produced after speaking to women of all ages and sheds light on hidden stories within the Asian community.

We had the chance to catch up with Davinder to hear all about the new show and the importance of allowing older people to share their stories and experiences…