By Rebecca Parker-Barabich, Head of PR and Events at Inspired Villages
Welcome to the first blog post for 101 Ways to Enjoy Getting Older. I want to take this opportunity to introduce the campaign and how we want it to influence the nation’s view of later living.
In the UK, ageing is generally seen as something unwelcome. There are thousands of quick fix solutions for keeping grey hairs at bay and avoiding wrinkles. In other parts of the world, however, older generations are celebrated for their wisdom - and reaching old age is something to be revered and celebrated.
Thankfully, things in the UK are beginning to change. In fact, I am personally participating in the revolution! Three months ago, I decided to join the #grombre movement and stop dying my hair. As the silver strands start to show, I am finding myself, at 43, feeling empowered. I am happy to be a role model to younger generations, challenging them to rethink the mentality around ageing.
Last year, my team and I held a panel discussion in Leamington Spa (near our Austin Heath site) on ‘101 Ways to Enjoy Getting Older’. Television and radio presenter, Gloria Hunniford, attended, together with Matt Weston MP and Dr Dawn Harper from Embarrassing Bodies. Gloria and Dawn are the embodiment of living well for longer. Both have positive attitudes and continue to work on projects they enjoy. Indeed, we are enthusiastically sharing wisdom drawn from Dawn’s book ‘How to Live Well to 101’ which highlights the things that really matter – community, easy-going attitude and even wine in moderation! The success of this panel session made me realise we were onto something big. The audience were keen to discuss having a happy retirement, and common themes started to emerge; such as the benefits of community and friendship. The ideas shared were inspiring and the room was lifted with energy. People had wisdom to share and they began to encourage each other. A positive campaign of this nature was a welcome change.
Fast forward a year and Gloria and Dawn have now signed up as ambassadors. As has Julia Bradbury, who led an Inspired Walk with us in September.
Since then, what has been most inspiring is the advice we have received from people across the country. There have been so many lively debates with people sharing their own hints and tips – including forming a rock band, dating, or going back to hobby from childhood. Health is obviously important. I always refer to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – if, health food and shelter are taken care of, then there is the chance to explore self-actualisation – and this is where the fun happens. Doing the things that really matter to you makes life worth living.
So, we are back on the road again in a couple of months to continue the debate and analyse the results. We have appearances planned on the main stage at Gardeners’ World Live in June and at Parkfest, our unique festival aimed at the over 65’s at Great Alne Park, in July. This is year 2 for Parkfest, and we are getting bigger and better. The festival will consist of different zones, including a main stage in the music zone, a lifestyle zone, a cultural zone, great food from the Great Alne Park restaurant and much more!
We are so excited about what this next stage of the campaign will bring. Our plan is to compile all the results and reveal the top 101 Ways To Enjoy Getting Older at a National Event in London on 21st November. It promises to be a great event and truly inspiring. And we can use the ideas to continually ensure our villages are delivering what our customers want.
If you would like to share your top tips, please click here.
Want to find out more?
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