Search on the internet for “senior workshops” or “pensioner groups,” and you’ll find any number of activities designed to keep older people involved in drama, dance, music, writing, walking – you name it and you’ll find it. Many of these activities provide the group’s participants with real purpose and reward, underscoring the importance of use-it-or-lose-it.

And yet …

The majority of groups and workshops for older people are organised and run by younger people, who – quite correctly – believe that offering activities for seniors is important and life-enhancing. Worthwhile though this is, it can too easily overlook the fact that many older people have had a lifetime’s experience of teaching and sharing, and being older themselves have a clearer idea than some young enthusiasts about what an older group wants and is capable of.

Many groups and workshops take place in cities and large towns, which can be a real problem for older people in rural areas, or who don’t have access to good public transport. It also tends to favour older people with the resources, mobility, transport and access to workshop venues.

And interestingly, most of the groups and activities available to older people tend to concentrate either on a specific creative endeavour, a physical activity, or a health issue such as memory loss or falls awareness. Very few groups exist specifically for sharing the lived experience of aging, how we see ourselves as older people and our role in the world, and what we want and can offer as people who’ve been around a long time and gained much useful experience and wisdom in the process.

Time to get together in groups to explore what we want, what we can offer, and what we can learn from each other!