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Carol's Blog
Postcards from Scotland


One of the,many, themes which emerged during yesterday's conference on 'Wisdom and Flamboyance' was that mental health is not just the absence of mental illness. Though they are closely related, they do not lie on a continuum with mental health at one end and mental illness at the other. Instead we need to create the conditions which promote flourishing. In the older years this means not only boosting positive emotion but also looking at things such as creating meaning and purpose in life.

Flourishing at any age of life, according to Corey Keyes, is the presence of both hedonic and eudaimonic?well-being.??Hedonic well-being is what we often think of as happiness: pleasant affect and satisfaction with life.? Eudaimonic well-being, by contrast,? has 11 components such as meaning, purpose in life, personal growth, autonomy and so on.? At the event we discussed how we can create a state of flourishing in older people. Much of this involved the idea that we have to tap into what the older generation have to give to others and society as a whole.? We can learn a?huge amount?from older people and this can help them feel as if they are making a difference.? One of the ways participants suggested this could be achieved was through intergenerational communication and storytelling.?

A friend of mine, Val, who was at my table sent me a link to the Oral?History Society's website.? The society is a national and international organisation, which has recordings of ordinary people's thoughts and opinions about events during different?periods in history.? Oral history?'preserves everyones past for the future' and can be used to bring a new dimension to family and local history.? It is used with older people in the community and in residential care to encourage a continued sense of worth and contribution to society.? This seems like an excellent way to pass on stories and to learn from older generations.? In?re-telling events people can create meaning?while at the same time pass on valuable thoughts and insights to future generations.?To find out more about the society click here, or to go to the Scottish link click here


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