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This blogpost was written in cooperation with LEBENLANG and Allianz Private Krankenversicherung.]
Feeling like being 80 years old for one day, what could that be like? Back in April, I was invited to a workshop and blogger event by LEBENLANG and Allianz Private Krankenversicherung in order to experience what it is like to be old.
Most of us live a hectic everyday life, ideally mostly doing things we are happy about, being able to try out whatever we want to. When becoming older, things will feel differently and we won’t be able to carry out our professions and hobbies the way we are doing this today. It is most likely that a lot will change for us and it’s not easy to imagine how our everyday life will be different, because not everything we do and now love will still be possible when we are around 80 years old.
The goal of the event was to experience becoming old, to get insights into what might change and to experience ourselves how the limitations due to the physical fitness and the body have an impact on what we do on a daily basis. Apart from challenging everyday life tasks, we wanted to find out what could change with regard to architecture, design and interior.
Feeling like being 80 Years old for one Day // Gefühlte 80
[Photo credit: David Nassim for LEBENLANG] The workshop day started with a super interesting keynote about growing old, about care concerning elderly people and about our healthcare system. Super interesting!
[Photo credit, left image: Patricia Haas for LEBENLANG]
[Photo credit, left image: Patricia Haas for LEBENLANG // Photo credit, right image: David Nassim for LEBENLANG]
Did you know that 75% of all women and 50% of all men in Germany are in need of care once they are old?
But: only 4% of all people have an insurance for this case.
When we are in need of care, it takes an average of 6 to 7 years until we die.
What is super interesting is that only about 30% of our physical condition is based on genetics, the rest is based on our lifestyle: what we eat, how active we are, if we do sports.
Once being old, only about 15% of the people being older than 85 years old are taken care of in a nursing home. All the others are taken care of at home. About two third of the elderly people still living at home are being nursed by their relatives.
The Workshops for Personal Experiences
[Photo credit: Patricia Haas for LEBENLANG] After getting some really interesting input and diving into the topic, it was workshop time. There were four stations which the participants were joining each in small groups. Everything was about experiences concerning movement, feelings, seeing and hearing, perfectly fitting to our blog’s topics of interior, DIY, fitness and music.
I was the one to create the content for the DIY workshop. We wanted to use the Twercs tool suitcase by Vorwerk and had a hot glue gun, an electric screwdriver, a saw and a stapler at our disposal.
For my project, the plan was to make mini pinboards.
[Photo credit last image: David Nassim for LEBENLANG] We got blurry glasses, a neck brace and gloves with weights to make handiworks more difficult and to imitate the limitations that elderly people have when their eyes aren’t that good anymore and when their arms feel heavy and it is difficult to lift up their hands.
[Photo credit: David Nassim for LEBENLANG]
[Photo credit, left image: David Nassim for LEBENLANG // Photo credit, right image: Patricia Haas for LEBENLANG]
For the mini pinboards, the following supplies are needed:
– Small cork plates
– A stapler and a hot-glue gun
– Fabric, felt and ribbons
Scissors are needed to cut out fabric bigger than the size of the cork plates. A stapler is used to attach the edges of the fabric on the backside of the cork plate. Then a ribbon for later hanging the pinboard to the wall is also attached. Then one can cut out a piece of felt nearly as big as the cork place and glue it to the back to cover the edges of the fabric.
[Photo credit: David Nassim for LEBENLANG] Normally, this is super easy, but when having an impaired sight and impaired freedom of movement, this suddenly becomes extremely difficult. The tools are too heavy, it is more difficult to grab the supplies and to recognize details. Really interesting and super useful to put oneself into the position of elder people.
[Photo credit, right image: Patricia Haas for LEBENLANG] The next workshop was all about visual impairment. We got to try out several glasses, simulating different kinds of eye diseases and sight impairment.
[Photo credit, first two images: David Nassim for LEBENLANG // Photo credit, last image: Patricia Haas for LEBENLANG] Having one’s own sight limited in a drastic way, it was rather difficult to recognize contrasts in a monochrome room, to pour hot tea into a cup or cut a cake into slices. Simulating the perception of 80-year-old people was super interesting and we were able to get a glimpse of which obstacles and surprises will be awaiting us later. So many interesting insights in just one day!
[Photo credit last image: Patricia Haas for LEBENLANG] The last step was then to wear age suits. They are filled with weights so that we were able to imitate how cumbersome movements become and how difficult it will be to move flexibly.
The Makeover: Looking like 80
[Photo credit: Patricia Haas for LEBENLANG] As a last step, there was a little makeover. Our photos were taken and then, those of us who wanted, were made up as if we were older, thanks to a team of make-up artists.
[Photo credits: Patricia Haas for LEBENLANG]
[Photo credit: David Nassim for LEBENLANG]
[Photo credits: Patricia Haas for LEBENLANG] My make-up was done by awesome make-up artists Janika Wever and Alexandra Heinze who painted blue veins onto my skin and who used some kind of silicone to imitate lots of skin wrinkles on my face. To watch this process was so much fun! Thanks to them, this experience of simulating being old became a lot more real!
[Photo credit: Patricia Haas for LEBENLANG]
[Photo credits for both images: David Nassim for LEBENLANG] 31 year old me and elderly Lu! 😀 I wish our hair would have also changed, this would have made it even more realistic.
Thanks to this awesome workshop day, I got a lot of insights, enlarged my knowledge and I think this day clearly made me more empathetic with elderly people.
Concerning creative projects, one has to keep in mind that they are accessible for everyone, as soon as people of an higher age are included in the target group. Stepping into elderly people’s shoes for a few hours was definitely an enriching experience!
What about you? Are you constantly in touch with your grandparents or other people of a higher age in your everyday life? I’d love to hear about your experiences!
If you’ve become curious to learn more, make sure to read LEBENLANG Magazine #12 2018 with the workshop about becoming older.
Thank you for reading!
P.S.: This article was written in cooperation with LEBENLANG and Allianz Deutschland.