The International Day of Older People and the 4th Generation

The 4th Generation is celebrating!  Yesterday (Oct 1st) was ‘International Day of Older People’, and the celebrations launched a month of activities and events. But who are the 4th Generation and what was the day all about?  

The International Day of Older People is designed to celebrate everything that older people bring to society and it also aims to promote healthy and independent lifestyles.

In Leeds, the celebrations are continuing for almost a month and the themes this year are: ‘Food, Health and Heritage’.

It all started at a launch event yesterday, opened by Councillor Adam Ogilvie, Executive Member for Adult Social Care with Rachel Cooper, Project Coordinator at Leeds Older Peoples Forum, followed by guest speaker Lynn Hill – founder of the Clandestine Cake Club.

The cake stall was very busy !
The cake stall was very busy !

 The day involved cooking demonstrations by the Ministry of Food; healthy snacks from Leeds City College’s catering students; Age UK’s Arch Café Winter Warmth themed stall; Community Meals stall (freshly cooked food delivery service); Leeds City Museums and ‘Marks in Time’ local food heritage stalls; and an interactive food-themed quiz!

Julie Speight is the tutor involved with the catering students, she said:

 “We are delighted to be supporting such an important cause. Being involved in this event is not only helping older people in our community to stay healthy, it’s also a great opportunity for the students to share their knowledge about food, develop their customer service skills and work with people across different age groups.”

 A month of celebration events

 The events will take place across the city throughout October. Activities are planned to promote wellbeing, good mental health and improved access to services to help older people to remain independent for longer. They have been are organised locally by Neighbourhood Network Schemes and voluntary agencies on the theme ‘older people and mental health’, linking with the theme for World Mental Health Day (10th October). Here’s just a few of the events planned:

  •  Leeds GATE – hiring a traditional gypsy caravan to bring young and older people together to celebrate gypsy and traveller culture.
  • Advocacy for Mental Health and Dementia will display and cut a cake, decorated to illustrate the value of advocacy.
  • Sign Health aims to highlight housing needs of older deaf people.
  • South Asian Elders will discuss mental health issues.
  • The Samaritans aim to improve their training programme by encouraging older people to take on volunteering roles.
  • Lynn Hill will be leading cooking lessons at three organisations to encourage older people to get back into baking and enjoy the social elements of sharing cake.

The community events are supported by small grants from Leeds City Council and Volition (Leeds voluntary agencies mental health network).

 There’s a programme of events on the Leeds Older Peoples Forum website:  Please note that most are not public events so the guide is for information only.

 Leeds Older Peoples Forum (LOPF) organised the events with Leeds City Council, Care and Repair, Age UK Leeds and volunteers. LOPF is an ‘umbrella’ organisation and has a membership of over 100 voluntary organisations, they work with all older people over 55 across Leeds, including the Neighbourhood Network Schemes.

 The 4th Generation

The celebrations include all older people, but the words ‘older people’ can mean everyone from 55 to over 100 years old and this can include people a generation apart in age. Older people who are over 85 years old may well be in very different situations from the recently retired and totally fit 60 year olds.

The term ‘the 4th Generation’ tries to highlight the particular situation of people who are over 85, and this is an increasingly important group as the number of people in this category is rising dramatically. Estimates indicate that between 2010 and 2030, we will see a 100% increase in those aged over 85 – the graph shows the bigger picture. 


Some facts are already very clear:

  • Assumptions based on the ‘younger old’ can be totally inappropriate for the ‘oldest old’.
  • People get more diverse the older they get.

In the next couple of days we will be talking to Trude Silman, who is an older person working closely with Leeds Older People’s Forum. She shares with us some of her thoughts on the celebrations happening now and she looks ahead to some of the things that we should be focussing on to get right for older people in Leeds in the future.

Link:  Trude Silman talking about the needs of older people and what we need to do.

About betterlivesleeds

Health, social and age-related care services working together to make Leeds the best city for health and wellbeing
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