During a week of events commemorating older people in early October, creative ageing expert Alan Heeks calls for a new form of Elderhood, and hosts a community event near Salisbury paying tribute to elders
Our Generations: Multi-generational Conservation Weekend
Hazel Hill Wood, near Salisbury, Wiltshire
Friday 5 October – Sunday 7 October
Elders Circle to be held on Silver Sunday (7 October), 2-4pm
With more people in the world aged over 60 than ever before, currently 700 million – and likely to rise to 2 billion by 2050 – International Day of Older Persons recognises the contributions of older people and examines the core issues affecting their lives. Silver Sunday highlights the blight of loneliness affecting so many older people, celebrates their contribution to society and promotes their happiness and wellbeing; in commemoration of the day, thousands of events will be organised across the UK to bring older people together.
Creative ageing expert Alan Heeks, whose latest book Not Fade Away: Staying Happy When You’re Over 64! was published this year to help older people age happily and healthily, will be hosting a community event entitled ‘Our Generations: Multi-generational Conservation Weekend’ at Hazel Hill Wood near Salisbury on the weekend of Silver Sunday, 5-7 October (Friday 7pm – Sunday 4pm). The event is being held in celebration of older people, who are invited to join.
Alan Heeks, who founded the 70-acre woodland 30 years ago to help people grow their resilience and wellbeing, supported by nature, says:
“Conservation weekends at Hazel Hill are always great fun – they’re a fantastic way to help care for this magical woodland, learn about its ecology and wildlife, and enjoy good food and company. We’re delighted to be celebrating and involving older people at our next one commemorating Silver Sunday, who are invited to join us, whether individually or with their adult children or grandchildren.
“On the Sunday afternoon, we’ll be hosting an Elders’ Circle inviting elders to share their experiences and insights around how to grow older happily and healthily. One theme from my new book Not Fade Away I’m keen to explore is the potential for a new form of eldership. In tribal societies, the elder’s role was typically to guide the tribe in a crisis, dream dreams, envision the future and mentor the young. My vision for a useful contemporary form of elderhood is to see it as an invitation to connect with the mature wisdom in yourself, and choose your own vision for elderhood that brings out the best of the unique qualities you have to offer. In the Circle we’ll be looking at what elderhood means for each of us, and how you can best move into it.”
Alan Heeks will host the Elders’ Circle from 2pm-4pm on the Sunday afternoon. Anyone aged 50 or over can participate and others of any age are welcome to listen and observe. The Circle, free of charge for all, is also open to people who haven’t participated in the conservation weekend.
Conservation work will take place on the Saturday morning and afternoon, as well as on the Sunday morning, with activities to suit all fitness levels – from tree thinning and planting to path maintenance and wildlife surveys. All age groups are welcome, from seven to 70 plus.
Hazel Hill is a magical 70-acre woodland, with off-grid wooden buildings, hot tub, campfires and beautiful open spaces. Participants on the weekend can sleep in comfortable, heated indoor rooms, or camp.