Exploring how to help leaders make Greater Manchester more ‘age-friendly’

To mark the UN International Day of Older Persons on October 1stStA new project has been launched to help researchers and policy makers make Greater Manchester a more ‘age-friendly’ region by providing a better understanding of the lives and experiences of older people.

In cooperation with partner organizations in the region, the lecturer for social and cultural geography Dr. Amy Barron of the University of Manchester has created a brochure showing the different lifestyles of aging in Greater Manchester and an accompanying animation.

Beyond old age: Approaches to understanding the diverse lives of older people contains material from a Photo and story collection produced together with older residents. It describes how policy makers and academics can adopt a more creative, participatory approach when working with older people and presents a selection of methods that could be used.

The brochure argues that such an approach can be used to better represent the lives of older people in policy and research – something that is important for the creation of age-friendly cities – as well as the creation of a living archive of everyday life that is important for politics and interested citizens.

The project responds to calls from the Greater Manchester Aging Hub for the need for new, innovative methods in terms of co-production. By showing how aging is experienced differently, the project responds to research and campaigns that have found that depictions of aging often draw on medicalized, stereotypical representations of what constitutes older living.

“There is a risk that the catch-all term ‘elderly’, which refers to a heterogeneous group, will become a common agenda – we shouldn’t treat all ‘elderly’ and places equally,” said Dr. Barron.

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