What happens when we’re left to our own devices?

Age Scotland recently had the pleasure of attending a photography exhibition at the Scottish Parliament, showcasing some amazing images captured by people across the UK on the theme of older people and technology.

A photography competition called Left To Our Own Devices was run on the subject of older people’s experiences with technology. The shortlisted and winning images were presented in the exhibition and challenge the existing stereotypes of people in later years.

The project is managed by KT-EQUAL, a national partnership of researchers working to extend quality life for older people and disabled people, in partnership with our sister charity, AgeUK.

We wanted to share some of the marvellous images from the event:

Gadgets and Gizmos © Ian Hincliffe

Gadgets and Gizmos © Ian Hincliffe

Ian Hincliffe submitted the winning photo above for the category “Gadgets and Gizmos“. He said:

I have always believed that people should have the freedom to draw their own conclusions about the images they view. For me, photography is about capturing scenes I find visually interesting. The photograph was taken outside Leeds Art Gallery. As I was leaving I peered over the stairwell and saw a man using a tablet computer.

With a little help from my friends © Tineke Bout

With a little help from my friends © Tineke Bout

Tineke Bout submitted the fabulous image above, which came third place in the “Out and About” category. She said:

This image shows that someone with a handicap can still engage in and enjoy sports with a little help from her friends. I saw a girl in a wheelchair being helped into a canoe and set off on the lake. The photo shows the empty wheelchair at the lake side; the photo was taken at Lake Windermere in July 2010.

In the home © Adele Long

Going Up © Adele Long

The above photo, taken by Adele Long, was submitted for the “In the Home” category. The story of the image is very poignant:

My brother and I took a series of pictures of our father, Ron, in November 2011. By January 2012 he was dead, and these are the last pictures we have of him. The series of pictures show a wider story of what dementia can do.

Ron was born during the first world war and served in the airforce during the second world war. He, like many of his generation, had immense difficulties getting work after the war, but eventually he carved a career as a tool maker and engineer and had several patents for arc welding torch design.

He was a very religious, quiet, proud, independent and dignified man. The family saw him gradually slide into severe dementia in the last year or so of his life, and his deperate attempts to hold on to his dignity.

Although we had to support him to walk to the lift in the Care Home, we were still ‘guests’ in his home and he was determined to do what ever he could to maintain the role of host and father. When we got to the lift he slowly reached out to press the button and we captured this act of independence. It was only later that it struck us as an iconic representation of the use of technology as a demonstration of dignity and independence.

The images and exhibition are one step in the right direction to help dispel the myths and misconceptions of older people and technology. More, please!

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