Revolutionary art exhibition gives seniors a voice | Hunter Valley News
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Betty Gregory is 91 years old. She jumped out of a plane not once, but twice — once on her 80th birthday and once on her 85th. She also loves hot air balloon rides, tap dancing and burlesque.
Joe Feeney is 88 years old. His childhood in a Scottish children’s home inspired him to become a Westfield Santa. He’s been doing this for 16 years, giving hundreds of dollars worth of gifts to children in need along the way.
92-year-old Kevin popularized ski jumping in Australia. He still trains every night, doing weights, sit-ups and squats. He says that “you don’t stop exercising because you get old, you get old because you stop exercising.”
Betty, Joe and Kevin are three seniors with three unique, inspiring life stories. But they have a few things in common. They all know what it’s like to feel invisible, and they’ve all been inspired to do something to make sure their stories are seen and heard.
Imagine you are in line to pay for something. Everyone around you is being served, but no one seems to see you – or that it is your turn – and you remain standing.
That’s exactly what happened to Joe, one of the “Visible Me” contestants.
“I waited and waited and then finally worked up the courage to ask if anyone could see or hear me; it fell on deaf ears,” says Joe.
“I thought, ‘I’m not invisible, am I?’
Ask any older person you know and they will have a similar story. Invisibility is a common feeling that the most vulnerable members of our communities can identify with, and yet little is being done to make seniors feel visible again.
That’s how it goes “Visible Me” was born; The Feros Care team recognized that there were older Australians with incredible stories to tell, and younger Australians who could really benefit from hearing those stories.
The revolutionary art exhibition
Feros Care is a trusted home care provider that works with thousands of seniors every day.
They don’t just want people to live. They want people to laugh, have dreams, shatter stereotypes. And what better way to break stereotypes than working with seniors on an art project?
“We weren’t looking for stories,” says Tarnya Sim of Feros Care.
“We looked for seniors who are willing to tell their stories and for society to know the value of those stories.
“We wanted to give people a chance to participate and contribute to their own community while reminding others that seniors should be seen and celebrated.”
The result? 29 seniors between the ages of 73 and 100 were presented in the art exhibition in both digital and physical form.
One of them is Berenice, an 81-year-old who has lived all over the world. She has a penchant for adopting monkeys in need, raising a spider monkey in Mexico and a cranky macaque in Malaysia.
“I think it’s true that we’re not seen, not heard, not listened to,” says Berenice.
“We still have value; we still have experience on our side…we’ve done so much to talk about and should be very proud of.”
You can Click here to view the Visible Me gallery online.
Do you need support to live independently at home? Feros Care works with you to provide personalized care through housework, housekeeping and more. Talk to your aged care experts 1300 763 583 or visit feroscare.com.au/enjoylife