UK Older People's Day (Part 4)30 May 2014
For UK Older People’s Day 2014, as well as the theme of ‘Full of Life’, each month has been designated with a particular theme. For June, the theme is ‘Having a Ball’.
‘Kirby Sutton wanted to make a change in her area, and so she set up The Tea Dances to bring together older and younger people in the community to learn more about dancing and at the same time, to learn more about each other.’
Visit The Tea Dances website.
As UK Older People’s Day gets ever closer with just the summer between now and then, the thought of a tea dance seems so inviting – a chance to dress up, get some exercise and have a chat over a cup of tea and a piece of cake.
The country regularly gets Strictly ‘fever’ with celebrities and dancers strutting their stuff and showing us all how complicated it really is and what hard work has to go into learning the steps and keeping the rhythm. Yet go into any day centre or care home, switch on the music or bring in the band and it is the older people who can really show us how to strut their stuff, it is like second nature to an older generation.
This summer season is also the time that we, at Jewish Care, have an influx of companies offering their time to us and we have learnt that as well as cooking or gardening, the thing that really brings people together is a tea dance. The feedback from our corporate colleagues is that they get huge enjoyment out of these occasions, learning a new skill (dancing), honing their communication skills, and putting their life into perspective when they hear the life stories of our members and residents.
June also sees the wedding season in the Jewish calendar. All too often I have seen older people at weddings complaining that the music is too loud and not to their taste. Memories of sharing an occasion with those who are no longer with us enrich our lives, and putting some thought into the music at a wedding or any family function, can only enhance those memories. Taking a leaf out of Kirby Sutton’s initiative will mean that everyone can have a real good time together – one that nobody will forget for good reason.
Sonia Douek is Head of volunteering and community development at Jewish Care and has developed a strategy for the organisation that has seen the growth of volunteers in the organisation reach 3,000 people.