What is it really like being old?
What is it really like being old? It is a question whose answers youth can only imagine. Old age seems so far away that they are not even trying to imagine or search for these answers.
Together with our partners from Spain, we understood that intergenerational learning could successfully contribute to reducing the intergenerational gap. But how deep the gap is? In order to respond to this question, we, the #SeniorEdu team, organized an empathy workshop.
We started with an exercise to imagine what it is like being old and in small groups to think about some challenges that elders might be facing. After presenting and sharing participants’ opinions of challenges, the next step was the practical exercise. Participants step into the shoes of elders for some minutes through the following challenges:
- Earplugs in their ears
- Small rocks in their shoes.
- Wear gloves that would also simulate neuropathy (numbing), in their hands.
- Bands around both ankles, to mimic impaired walking.
- Eye bands (or anything that may totally or partially stop them from seeing) that simulate eye problems that can occur with aging and illness
- Use a walking cane. (it can be the stick from a broom, or a tree branch or whatever can simulate a walking cane)
Facing one or two of these challenges, we have to try to walk down the hall a few meters.
After performing the exercise, the reflection session gave us the possibility to understand how seniors feel and what kind of challenges are facing.