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The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has launched a new website which offers glimpses into what life is like for older people with high support needs.
The site includes a new poem by former Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom Sir Andrew Motion inspired by the stories of older people.
It celebrates old age with stunning photography by award-winning Jo Hanley and portraits of centenarians by leading UK photographer Chris Steele-Perkins.
The site was commissioned by JRF as part of its research programme “A Better Life”, which encourages people to think differently about getting older by listening to the voices of experience. It was built around perspectives on growing old by a range of older people and includes the stories and experiences of older people with learning disabilities; older lesbians, gay men and bisexuals; South Asian elders; people living with dementia and gypsy elders.
Speaking about the poem, Sir Andrew commented:"I created this poem as a collage - it's made of scraps taken from interviews, things I've overheard, things I've invented. The idea was to create a portrait of age which is at once fragmentary (because everyone's experience is unique to themselves) and unified (because ageing involves sharing certain things in common). I hope the result is realistic about the difficulties posed by time and the passing of time, and yet also celebratory of certain experiences that time allows - the richness of memory, the sense of a narrative shape within a life."
Access the site at http://betterlife.jrf.org.uk/