Faith convo: Caring for older people at 3Generate

3Generate is the occasion for children and young adults to have fun, explore their faith and expand their minds. One activity for the latter was the “Faith convo: Caring for older people” and encouraging people of all ages to get together and have a chat.

13 June 2024

Elena, the conversation enabler, is surrounded by a group of ten or so people from all ages. Elena asks a question to break the ice and let the discussion flow and grow organically. “I don’t think you should care for the elderly because of their age, but because they are people,” says a young person. People around nod their heads.

Elena wanted to chair the session as she has first-hand experience of seeing the transition between being very capable retired people to becoming less capable. She says, “There's a lot of self-learning that needs to be done by the individual who is ageing and their support network. How you adapt to that person's needs without being patronizing whilst being patient and loving.”

Ageing happens to all of us and it is sometimes difficult to see beyond the age difference. “Don’t treat elderly people differently, treat them as you would your mates,” adds a participant.

A young woman explains that she is the youngest person in her church. She says, “They are my friends. It’s all about finding the balance between treating them like individuals and caring for them.”

Part of caring for elderly people is also broadening our understanding of inclusivity and seeing what can be done to make churches and services more welcoming. “As churches, we need to adapt to people’s changing abilities,” agrees a participant.

Another dimension is being able to have difficult conversations. “We know there are drugs that help slow dementia, yet when we notice a person starting to display the signs, we often don’t discuss it, letting dementia and brain damage progress,” regrets another.

As the conversation develops, the young all agree that more should be done by the church and its members. Getting old brings some vulnerability and it is necessary to make them feel valued and offer intergenerational activities so children, young people, adults and elderly people can enjoy time together and share their experiences. “Multi-generational learning is the most powerful form of learning,” concludes Elena.

We’re back at the NEC in Birmingham from 4 – 6 October. Check out: www.3Generate.org.uk to find out more.

Watch the brand new promo video here: https://vimeo.com/935387565

Have you already signed up to volunteer for this year’s event? It would be great if you can as well as spreading the word to encourage others to join the team. Bring a friend to be on the team and have twice the fun! Take a look at all the opportunities available and sign up here: www.methodist.org.uk/3Genvols