THERE is something special about sitting down and listening to a senior recounting stories of their lives, according to writer and photographer Bec Oldmeadow.
For her, being able to sit with someone and take down their story to be read and remembered by many is one of the reasons she started up Portraits of our Elderly earlier this year.
She has collected raw photographs and honest interviews from a number of people for the project, including 86-year-old Yvonne June Gover, who talks about her life growing up in Cantonment Street, contracting diphtheria, having a ‘player’ for a father and living through World War II.
Ms Oldmeadow said the project was one that was close to her heart.
‘I lived with and cared for my grandfather for the last few years of his life and he had some remarkable stories of life as a doctor in WW II,’ she said.
‘I’m genuinely interested in people and we forget the elderly and I don’t believe we give them credit for their achievements, we tend to just see them as old people. I thought this project could help bring their stories to life and give them a sense of identity in our society.’
She said while the ordeals they have been through might be uncomfortable, she found comfort in hearing their tales.
‘They lost so many loved ones, their children, brothers and sisters, mothers, fathers, wives and husbands and often in a very short space of time,’ she said. ‘It’s loss we can’t even begin to understand, but they can also be surprisingly witty and make me laugh too.
‘We need to learn to appreciate them more, appreciate that they are far more than just old people, they have a past and that they are far from boring.’
Ms Oldmeadow is looking for more local people to include in Portraits of our Elderly.
To nominate someone to be involved in the project, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Portraits of our Elderly can be found on Facebook.