A better lifeOld age, new thoughts

Portrait of James, a member of the Scottish Dementia Working Group, smiling.

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?

Portrait of Pal, a South Asian elder, smiling.

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.

What's important?

Portrait of Pat, an older person with a learning disability, holding her car keys.

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.

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