In order to support those of you involved in the provision of physical activity programmes for older people we brought together a group of stakeholders in June 2020 to develop this guidance resource.
We all want to see older people come back to recreational sport and physical activity and so we hope the following guidance will help you inform, encourage, build confidence and in particular reassure older people as they return to a more active lifestyle, in accordance with the public health guidelines and the recommendations of your own sporting body or organisation.
We were hugely impressed with the wonderful entries into our ‘Inspirational Older Person’ competition, celebrating the older people in our lives, and we’d like to say thank you to everyone who entered.
Our three judges, one from each Age & Opportunity programme, went through all the entries and we are delighted to announce our four winners:
Levi Patrick Coada in Sligo
John Dunne in Louth
Neola Matthews in Waterford
Dorian Nowak in Carlow
Here are some photos of the arts and crafts, and even a song, from our wonderful winners.
We would also like to say a big thank you to The National Stud and Gardens in County Kildare, Boogie Bounce in County Wicklow, Sailing Ireland and Butler’s Chocolate Café for providing the incredible prizes for our winners.
The Alliance of Age Sector NGOs calls for a programme of remembrance and reflection after Covid-19
The Alliance of Age Sector NGOs – Active Retirement Ireland, Age Action, Age & Opportunity, ALONE, The Alzheimer Society of Ireland, the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament, Third Age and the Irish Hospice Foundation – welcomes and supports the call by the Irish Hospice Foundation for Government to put in place a process of remembrance and reflection to recognise those who have died or have lost loved ones in recent months during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. This call from the Alliance demonstrates that there is broad national support for a series of events to support the loved ones of those who have died and to mark a period of national mourning.
Speaking on behalf of the Alliance, Mairead Hayes, CEO of The Senior Citizens Parliament said, ‘the restrictions on nursing homes visits and funeral gatherings has added to the grief and loss people experienced. As a society we should take a moment to mourn those who have died and to show our support to their loved ones.’
The Alliance calls on the Government to support and engage with the Irish Hospice Foundation, families and other stakeholders, to mark what has been a period of great loss and sadness for many people.
Also on behalf of the Alliance Maureen Kavanagh, CEO of Active Retirement Ireland said, ‘COVID-19 has reminded us all how the death of an older family member, a granny or grandad, is a huge event for many generations in a family. Yet, we don’t talk about death and bereavement in a way that we can understand it, and prepare ourselves for it. It is time that Ireland held a national dialogue on death and bereavement, and how, as a country, we can support people who experience loss.’
The Alliance supports the work of the Irish Hospice Foundation who have campaigned for 35 years for a more informed approach to death and bereavement in Ireland. In particular, the Alliance believes that there should be broad political support for;
A national series of mourning and remembrance events for all who have died since the pandemic started in order to express our collective connection with the bereaved and to honour, comfort and support;
Reigniting a national conversation on dying, death and bereavement in Ireland, led by Government, to be followed by an oﬃcial process to make recommendations and put them into eﬀect.
Aine Brady CEO of Third Age stated, ‘We would hope that the Government will lead out and invite people from the worlds of politics, sport, trade unions, businesses, civil society organisations and people of all faiths and none, in a moment of remembrance of those who have died, and support to those bereaved.’
Minister Catherine Martin T.D. announces €500,000 investment in Creativity in Older Age Programme
Minister Catherine Martin T.D. announces €500,000 investment in the Creative Ireland Programme’s new Creativity in Older Age Programme. The Creativity in Older Age Programme has been designed to counteract the social side effects of the pandemic. It will begin immediately and will be rolled out over the next 18 months.
As part of this, Age & Opportunity will deliver a series of creative residencies in six care settings around the country. These creative residencies will last six months and will concentrate on dance, music and performance.
In 2019, we ran a number of residencies in care settings nationwide, made possible through funding provided by the Creative Ireland National Creativity Fund, HSE Lottery Funding, and the Arts Council. The 2019 Artist(s) in Residence in a Care Setting initiative took place in care settings in Clare, Donegal, Dublin, Kerry, Kildare and Sligo.
These six residencies were designed to bring the benefits of arts participation to up to 250 older people who either live in or visit care facilities and also positively impacted on over 500 people, when we include all those involved – residents, staff, families, artists, and the wider community.
Bealtaine Festival, an Age & Opportunity event, is a celebration of the arts and creativity as we age. Although we had to cancel our live and in-person events this May, we are bringing a taste of the festival to you online for the entire month of May – Bealtaine At Home.
Bealtaine At Home honours the creative spirit of the festival with a wide selection of online activities that we want you to get involved in, and share with the older people in your lives.
“The festival has moved online this year, but we have a wide variety of activities that we hope will interest older people in particular who are cocooning during this difficult time,” Karen Horgan, CEO Age & Opportunity, said. “The incredible calendar of events for Bealtaine At Home throughout the month of May reminds us that we can be creative and enjoy the arts in our homes.”
The Artistic Director of the festival, Dr Tara Byrne added: “While we were so disappointed to have to cancel the huge plans we had for our 25th Bealtaine Festival, we have managed to respond with a diverse, engaging and highly entertaining series of events to mark this extra-ordinary May!”
We will be releasing a specially commissioned Bealtaine At Home video every Wednesday in May with Pom Boyd and The Windy Lady, who invites the viewer into her home to share her surreal thoughts on self-isolation, medication, her turkey family, pigs, racing cars, buses, the moon and Vladimir Putin (or the manager in Super Valu as she knows him).
“I started making this noise in rehearsals one day and The Windy Lady came into being,” Pom Boyd, Dublin born Actor, Performer and Writer, said. “The character is born out of how older people are typically portrayed, so I’ve made sure there is subversion, anarchy and feminism going on with The Windy Lady. She’s a perfect fit for Age & Opportunity as she challenges stereotypes. You’d never know it to look at her though, you have to get to know her.”
“During Covid 19 the Windy Lady is sharing her home schooling skills, looking after her family of turkeys and sharing her collection of photographs with us, so I hope you’ll take a journey with her in these videos throughout May,” Pom said.
We’ll also be getting imaginative with artist Brian Cooney and his photography club online; we’ll be discussing literature with our book club with the help of writer Mia Gallagher and hearing from authors Michael Harding, Catherine Dunne and Neil Hegarty; we’ll be asking choirs to send in their videos from isolation to celebrate the Dawn and Dusk Choruses with us and much more.
In 2019 Age & Opportunity ran six artist residencies in care settings around Ireland. This May, the six artists were due to revisit their care setting for a Bealtaine celebration. This unfortunately is no longer possible, but the artists involved have all responded to this by creating an opportunity for wider engagement, inspired by their residency, including photography, drawing workshops, print at home pamphlets and videos, immersive video for those living with dementia and more. We will be sharing the creative activities of the artists involved on our website and social channels.
Meet Tom Meskell, Visual Artist and Carmel Balfe, Puppeteer. Tom and Carmel will be taking us on a creative journey over the next few weeks and showing us different ways to make art out of everyday items in our homes.
Due to the Covid 19 pandemic in Ireland we unfortunately have to cancel the upcoming Creative Exchanges Programme which was due to start on 22nd April. We hope to reschedule the course for September, please check back here or on our social media pages for updates.
We are delighted to share our Movement Minutes videos with you. Session 1 was first broadcast on Facebook Live on 19th March. This is a 15 minute seated physical activity session for older adults. Move forward to 1:50 for the start of the class.
Session 2 of our Movement Minutes was first broadcast on Facebook Live on 20th March. This is a 15 minute standing physical activity session for older adults. Move forward to 4:20 for the start of the class.
There is a door. It has a handle and a lock. It can be easy or difficult to open. Depending, of course, on which side of the door you are on, who opens it and why.
In this bold and delightfully riotous dance theatre performance, a group of people push open THE DOOR to reveal stories about home, hospitality and belonging – and what they mean as we age. A CoisCéim BROADREACH commission, THE DOOR has been developed over the last year with communities from across Dublin County and Dun Laoghaire. Led by Philippa Donnellan, it features live music by members of NCH Blow the Dust Orchestra and is performed by an irreverent gang with a passion for dancing and a desire to hold on to the keys. Céad míle fáilte! But is it that simple?
Are you interested in theatre, do you love to dance? You’re welcome to take part! Creative sessions take place 3 times a week in Dublin City Centre from 7th April until 14th May. PROJECT PARTICIPATION FEE €20. Places are limited and booking is required. Call CoisCéim at 01 878 0558 to join and to find out about additional fee options. Further information here: The Door 2020 – Creative Sessions
The project performance takes place at the National Concert Hall on 14th May at 4pm & 7pm. Book your free ticket to the performance here: The Door 2020 – Performance or phone the National Concert Hall box office on 01 417 0000.
Led by Philippa Donnellan.
A CoisCéim BROADREACH project commissioned by Age & Opportunity / Bealtaine in association with the National Concert Hall and Fatima Groups United.