The Exhibition "Livslopp" shows unique features in all of us
- 26 Jan 2018
This Saturday, the photo exhibition "Livslopp" (Life courses) opens at Galleri Kontrast in Stockholm. Attendo has been a partner to the project since it started in Norway about six years ago.
The idea behind Livslopp is very simple. With an old photo as template, a photographer is tasked with taking a new photo of a senior who has moved in to a nursing home. The two photos are then put together with a short life story that gives perspective to the motive.
Despite the limitations of the format, the end result is usually astonishingly detailed and contains a deep emotional aspect. Every picture represents a unique life story that really underscores the essence of Attendos vision - empowering the individual. After having looked at the various motives, there is no denying that every senior – well, really every one of us – has a unique and interesting history, that also matter for the kind of care we require.
The perspectives can be quite thrilling – the two photos with the longest life span is separated with more than 103 years. Gunni Wiren is a tenant at Attendo Kullen nursing home on Ekerö island, just outside Stockholm. Her father decided early to get a camera, and took one of his first photos of Gunni when she wasn’t even one year old. Today she has reached the age of 104, and has gathered life experiences from two world wars as well as all the events that occur in a long and eventful life. Her philosophy is simple – you have to enjoy life! And she still lives by that philosophy; she still very adamant on keeping herself neat and she goes to town to put her hair on a regular basis.
From my perspective, there are a number of points to be made from this exhibition, besides showing the importance of providing personalized care based on every individual’s unique needs and wishes:
First of all - We do not become more alike as we get older. On the contrary, as we continually collect more experiences as we grow older, there is an ever growing demand on care services to be sensitive to each individual’s own wishes and needs as we grow older.
Secondly - The senior voice is needed in society. The individual's perspective is often omitted when politicians discuss the care. Still, it is just as important for older people to be able to have influence over their care and who gets to perform it. The desire to make your own choice has no upper age limit.
Thirdly, we must be better at collecting and make use of older people's life experiences. The wisdom that many elderly people accumulate has an enormous value for younger people. Older people’s perspectives on life can be enriching, creating a sense of meaning and context.
And finally, I think that the perspectives provided by Livslopp also should be food for thought in the debate concerning whether we should have both private and public providers in care. There are so many different people out there, who each and every one has the same need for a care that is adapted to their specific needs and conditions. The great plurality among our seniors should rather point to a similar need of a plurality among care providers. My belief is that the local authorities never will be able to cater to that plurality on their own. From that perspective, Livslopp is also a voice in the current political debate concerning if private companies should be able to provide care on reasonable terms in the future.
The exhibition Livslopp is shown from January 27 until March 4 at Galleri Kontrast in Stockholm. In total there are 44 life stories that have been portrayed by renowned photographers. All work is being done pro bono – but Attendo, the City of Oslo and the foundation Fritt Ord has made it possible with funding.
If you have the opportunity, please take your time to visit the exhibition or the home page for a sample. I promise that the exhibition will give you perspectives on many important aspects of life.