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What exactly should we be celebrating?

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Today, October 1st, we mark the International Day of Older People. The UN created this annual event in 1991 to celebrate people in later years of their life.

So what exactly should we be celebrating?

Oliver Sacks, the celebrated professor of neurology and author at NYU wrote, to our minds, one of the most elegant pieces about ageing when he turned 80 years old:

My father, who lived to 94, often said that the 80s had been one of the most enjoyable decades of his life. He felt, as I begin to feel, not a shrinking but an enlargement of mental life and perspective. One has had a long experience of life, not only one's own life, but others', too. One has seen triumphs and tragedies, booms and busts, revolutions and wars, great achievements and deep ambiguities, too. One is more conscious of transience and, perhaps, of beauty.

But the serenity that comes with living out and owning history — “I can feel in my bones what a century is like,” Sacks goes on to say — is in stark contrast to the younger generation’s regret at not having recorded their elders’ life stories before they passed on, and the ensuing loss of 'connections'.

If you missed it, our well-received TED talk explains what exactly it is we mean by ‘connections’ and why we believe they are vital to creating a better society.


And so, for us, the International Day of Older People is about recording those life stories, while they are still here with us.

A beautiful day to you all, and do let us know if you would like us to assist you recording your life story, or that of your loved one, or if you simply need advice on how to go about it... We would be happy to help.

We leave you with this short, heartwarming film we created last year, celebrating the life and passions of one of our elder clients, Gloria.

With warm wishes always,

Your team at Plantain.