A better lifeOld age, new thoughts
Why think about getting older?
Old age isn't about 'them', it's about all of us.
We're all heading in that direction - the number of people over 85 in the UK will double in the next 20 years. More of us than ever are reaching old age and those who do face new challenges. But we rarely hear about this stage of life from the real experts.
This site gives older people's voices a platform. We hope to highlight their experiences, resilience and ability to flourish across a century of huge change. And we want to find out what they can teach us about mutual support and positive thinking.
Who are the experts?
We commissioned papers from diverse groups of older people, many with high support needs. Each group explored what growing older really means. Their personal stories inspired our poem, by Sir Andrew Motion.
Alongside these stories, a team from The Open University investigated what older people want and value. Their research can be found on the JRF website.
We also supported a photographic project by Chris Steele-Perkins, providing a glimpse into what it's like to be a centenarian.
Whatever our age and however much support we need, we can all live meaningful lives based on strong personal relationships. We can all go on giving as well as taking. Right up until the end of our lives, both our present selves and our histories are worth understanding and celebrating.
Find out more about the JRF's work on this subject
This work has been inspired by our programme A Better Life, investigating how older people with high support needs can have a better quality of life.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual people
- Perspectives on ageing: lesbians, gay men and bisexuals
- In this JRF report Sally Knocker explores what lesbian, gay or bisexual older people need and value.
- We get old, just like anyone else
- An older gay couple who've been together 54 years reflect back upon their life together.
- Lesbian, gay and bisexual people in later life (PDF)
- Advice from Stonewall for the Older LGB community.
- Bridging the Gap
- Exploring the potential for bringing older and younger LGBT people together.
South Asian elders
- Perspectives on ageing in South Asian families
- In this JRF report Manjit Kaur Nijjar presents the voices of South East Asian elders and carers.
- Asian gracefully
- A Channel 4 Documentary in which Director Fozia Khan's First Cut film takes an intimate look behind the doors of Aashna House - one of the few residential care homes exclusively for Asian elders in the country.
People with learning difficulties
- Perspectives on ageing with a learning disability
- In this JRF report Cally Ward looks at the future for people ageing with learning difficulties.
- Older people with learning difficulties (PDF)
- A comprehensive report from Mencap regarding older people with learning difficulties.
- Mutual Caring
- Information supporting older families who are looking after each other.
People with dementia
- Perspectives on ageing with dementia
- In this JRF report Dot Weaks explores the challenges faced by the Scottish Dementia Working Group.
- My name is not dementia
- People with dementia discuss what quality of life means to them.
- Out of the Shadows
- People with dementia have spoken out about the impact stigma and diagnosis has on their lives.
- No Limits - Re-imagining Life with Dementia
- An exhibition developed in partnership with men and women with dementia, including members of the Scottish Dementia Working Group.
- Innovations in Dementia
- Four films about dementia, made by people with dementia.
Gypsies and Travellers
- Perspectives on ageing in Gypsy families
- In this JRF report Pauline Lane provides an insight into the lives of Gypsy and Traveller families.
- A Gypsy community film
- A perceptive short film that illustrates the history of the Gypsy community.
- Older Gypsy Travellers
- An Age Concern report especially for the Older Gypsy community.
What older people want and value
- Older people's vision for long term care
- A JRF study which examined the experiences and aspirations of older people living in residential and nursing care homes.
- A Better Life – what older people with high support needs value
- A framework for understanding what older people with high physical or mental support needs want and value in their lives.