International Day of Older Persons

Louise Ahrens, Health and Social Care Lead at the Christchurch Primary Care Network, aims to promote a holistic perspective, emphasizing the entire individual rather than just their current age.

To illustrate this, she has photographed some local residents alongside images of their younger selves and has also composed a poem on the subject to also promote awareness for International Day of Older Persons on the 1st October.

by Louise Ahrens
What do you see when you give me a smile?

An old man in pyjamas, timeworn and senile?

What do you feel when you take my hand?

And you talk loud and slow, so that I'll understand.

What do you hear when I try hard to speak?

Can you sense my frustration in a fit of pique?

What do you think as you feed me my dinner?

Make a mental note to record I look thinner?

What do you feel as you help me to bed?

As you pull up the rails and say "now mind your head."

I know what you see, my weathered reflection,

but you see me now, with no past connection.

You forget that I am a son and a brother,

a father, an uncle, a friend and a lover.

I am vibrant and spirited, I took risks, I was brave,

I've climbed fearless up mountains and dived deep beneath waves.

I've cradled my children with joy and pride,

I've loved and I've lost, I've laughed and I've cried.

I've worked long hours in responsible roles,

I've shared news and kept secrets, I've been praised and consoled.

I have loved and been loved, I've felt trapped and been free,

I am still all these things, I am still ME.

When you come in later, to check I'm OK,

please remember I'm more than who you see today.

I'm still the same person with the privilege of age,

I'm still part of this world, on life's big stage.

I may not "get better" and my ailments will worsen,

but please try and see me as a whole person.