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      Older people and creativity: What can a social pedagogical perspective add to this work?

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          While for some older people longevity is a blessing, for others it is a curse. This article draws on the author’s experience of working through the National Lottery Fund’s Ageing Better programme with groups of older people in Leicester, many of whom are marginalised in terms both of society and under-represented in research. Four psychosocial challenges are identified from this experience: handling change; chronic loneliness; meaninglessness; and loss of a social role. The article explores the significance of creativity whether linked to the participatory arts or creative thinking and problem solving in addressing these challenges. It acknowledges the value of the participatory arts but highlights problems of accessibility and sustainability. The article explores briefly the concept of ‘everyday creativity’ and touches on the underexplored areas of how creativity can link to freeing up some rigidities in mindset and opening older people up to new possibilities. Finally, it examines the principles and practices of social pedagogy. Despite there being very few examples of practice with older people in the UK named as social pedagogy, it is suggested that the perspective is highly relevant to this area of work. Not only do the values and skills match what is needed, but adopting a social pedagogical perspective across the sector might enhance the self-confidence of staff and volunteers, the quality of the work, and provide a much-needed common language. Psychosocial knowledge and skills could, with benefit, be integrated.

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          Ready to give up on life: The lived experience of elderly people who feel life is completed and no longer worth living.

          In the Netherlands, there has been much debate on the question whether elderly people over 70 who are tired of life and who consider their life to be completed, should have legal options to ask for assisted dying. So far there has been little research into the experiences of these elderly people. In order to develop deliberate policy and care that targets this group of elderly people, it is necessary to understand their lifeworld. The aim of this paper is to describe the phenomenon 'life is completed and no longer worth living' from a lifeworld perspective, as it is lived and experienced by elderly people. Between April to December 2013, we conducted 25 in-depth interviews. A reflective lifeworld research design, drawing on the phenomenological tradition, was used during the data gathering and data analysis. The essential meaning of the phenomenon is understood as 'a tangle of inability and unwillingness to connect to one's actual life', characterized by a permanently lived tension: daily experiences seem incompatible with people's expectations of life and their idea of whom they are. While feeling more and more disconnected to life, a yearning desire to end life is strengthened. The experience is further explicated in its five constituents: 1) a sense of aching loneliness; 2) the pain of not mattering; 3) the inability to express oneself; 4) multidimensional tiredness; and 5) a sense of aversion towards feared dependence. This article provides evocative and empathic lifeworld descriptions contributing to a deeper understanding of these elderly people and raises questions about a close association between death wishes and depression in this sample.
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            Social Pedagogy as an Ethical Orientation Towards Working With People — Historical Perspectives

            Social pedagogy has a longstanding tradition in many European countries. This article outlines its development in relation to culturally specific concepts of children and their upbringing — the pedagogical — and ideas about the relationship between individuals and their community — the social. Both dimensions are closely connected to social pedagogy's ethical orientation, most notably to respect people as resourceful agents, help them develop their potential and support the construction of a more just society. By drawing on historical thinkers in social philosophy and education, the article explains how these two dimensions have shaped social pedagogy as an action-orientated science that requires professionals to work in an ethical manner. It concludes by discussing the need for critical reflection in order to ensure profound respect of people's human dignity and their otherness.
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              The science of improving your brain’s creativity

               N. Skillicorn (2014)

                Author and article information

                International Journal of Social Pedagogy
                UCL Press
                11 May 2020
                : 9
                : 1
                Chair, Leicester Ageing Together, Leicester, UK; rob.hunter@
                © 2020, Rob Hunter.

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited • DOI:

                Page count
                Pages: 11
                Custom metadata
                Hunter, R. (2020). Older people and creativity: What can a social pedagogical perspective add to this work?. International Journal of Social Pedagogy, 9( 1): 8. DOI:


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                International Journal of Social Pedagogy
                Volume 9, Issue 1

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