I’ve just been fortunate enough to hear an amazing play developed through a collaboration between the University of Surrey and AgeUK (West Sussex) and funded by the Averil Osborn Award Fund of the British Society of Gerontology (@britgerontology). For those of you not familiar with the Averil Osborn fund, it was set up to support innovative research and dissemination projects which directly involve older people, and to spread understanding and good practice. This play encapsulated all of that, and yet so much more. By working together to create the play, student nurses and older people demonstrated how such a collaboration could challenge (mis)perceptions and foster positive attitudes, enabling the development of empathy and understanding between generations in a care setting. The resulting play was a brilliantly woven story, entertaining as well as thought provoking, which covered many interesting issues such as negative gender stereotyping, caregiving and dementia, as well as showing how barriers to intergenerational communication can be broken down and replaced with mutual respect and understanding.
I do hope this collaborative work doesn’t stop here as clearly both the participants and the audience gained so much from it. Let us hope their plans to disseminate the play widely succeed – so watch this space for further information.