My first Magazine - Page 75

Students recreating a scene of a mother and son buying food at a Harkwer centre What primary six pupils think about people aged 65 and older The answers we got from two groups of participants - primary six pupils and seniors - were enlightening and suggest possible ways to address the way in which people encounter seniors and eldercare spaces. For instance, participants told us that : People in nursing homes are not part of the community That’s the unanimous view of the seniors. To them, nursing home (NH) residents ‘cannot walk like we do’ and that makes them different. To the children, NHs are ‘sad and pitiful places’ and ‘it is where people go to die’. Almost half of the 20 child participants felt that people are abandoned in NHs. Perception shapes reality When asked to ‘walk like an older person’, most children started slouching, slowing down and held out imaginary walking sticks. But when asked to judge their fellow students’ acting, some observed that that is not quite how it is. One boy said his grandfather does not walk slowly or hunchbacked but quickly, confidently and in an upright posture. Another student countered that they thought seniors to be slow and dependent because her mother told her that was how Grandma was like. The pupils based their construct of a senior on what they hear and observe in their vicinity. So for those who have little interaction with older adults, their perception is largely shaped by what others tell them or want them to believe. Another instructive feedback? St Joseph’s Home | | 73 73 St Joseph’s Home