Bill Palmer, one of the founders of Elderventure, says: “I was invited to spend some time in Beihang University in China. Every morning I used to go to the park to do qigong exercises and there were at least one hundred people doing the same. Their average age was about 70 and, when I talked to them, I found they were the retired lecturers. The university kept them on campus after retirement because they found their experience valuable. When I talked to the younger executives they said how important they found this resource of experience. They had the energy to do things but sometimes lacked the wisdom to know what to do..
Back in the UK I contrasted this with how we treat our older people in general. When people retire, all their experience is lost to the organisation that they worked for. We tend to patronise older people, leave them isolated or sequester them in care homes. There are very few structures where younger people can learn from and use the experience of older people.
Neil Oliver, from Edventure, and I decided to form Elderventure as a way of changing the view of older people in Frome society. To form a support group to share and revalue ourselves as older people and to encourage intergenerational projects.”