This week I’ve been attending the ‘Do not go Gentle’ 2017 conference from the British Society of Gerontology (BSG), held at Swansea University. The conference took place at an amazing campus near the beach with a lot of sunshine. But, I won’t go into how much I enjoyed seeing the sun and feeling the sand under my feet. Instead, I would like to focus on the diversity of the conference.
You might think, ‘oh a conference about a good old age’ must be full with boring elderly scholars reminiscing about the good old days when everything was better. But NO! Rather, the conference was about the future and what we can do to improve current challenges in an ‘ageing society’. People from all sort of ages and backgrounds visited. I have had the opportunity to talk with people who are involved in charities and networks on a local, national and even international basis.
Furthermore, I’ve attended sessions that challenged cultural stereotypes, or addressed health care problems and the issues surrounding public service cuts. Others had developed optimal policies that would benefit our society. Noteworthy, was the high-level of sessions that covered dementia.
Which leads to my symposium ‘Dementia and the design of surveillance technologies’. Previously, I’ve discussed that I would present a bit of my research. Research about the growing awareness of the role that surveillance technology has on addressing the needs of people with dementia and caregivers. I showed examples of how people with dementia are portrayed, and what sort of marketing messages are send about them and ‘wandering’. Someone in the audience told me that she lives with dementia and does not like these portrayals or being called ‘a wanderer’. Nice to know my work means something!
As promised, I will share my work; however, the film is not ready (yet). At the conference, I filmed this presentation again so that I can share it with you. This is part of the BSG ‘Aging Bites’ which highlights different aspects of ageing or ageing issues. You can find these bites on Youtube.
The conference was an excellent place to not only discuss, but to come together and start new collaborations to work on these issues. The conference came to an end with Life Story Theatre from the award-winning charity Re-live. Life Story Theatre is where everyone, for example, military veterans, people diagnosed with a terminal illness and people living with dementia, can share their experiences in theatre. The clips showed participant testimonies and how they shared their life experiences on stage. Sharing their experiences was fun, brought people together and most of all empowering. Heck, even I want to do some theatre work now!
The BSG have their own blog: https://ageingissues.wordpress.com/
PS: nice to see some Dutch representatives 🙂