face behind the window | personal project

face behind the window

My 94-year-old Aunt is ‘ageing in place’ in her own home. But, despite being fiercely independent, she has mentioned, once or twice in the past, to a silent but tacit dialogue she shares with her neighbour. Over four decades, they have watched the kitchen blinds open and close, first thing in the morning and last thing at night, to affirm that the other is still standing. We can often miss small acts of goodwill within our communities, but look closer, and they are there. Often, unspoken gestures of friendship can alleviate loneliness and help towards the unseen consequences of ageing. Moreover, as our social connections diminish, these acts of kindness can help those on their own to feel more confident and secure.

In elderhood, a person’s relationship with the world is profoundly altered by inevitable losses and health limitations. As a result, it has become increasingly common for the ‘oldest old’ in the UK to feel isolated as the number of over-90s has increased more than two-and­ a-half-fold in the last 30 years.