Where: Brussels, and other towns, Belgium
Who is involved: Entr’âges, non-profit organisation.
Nature of activity: For thirty years, Entr’âges has been facilitating intergenerational links. They promote the empowerment of older people, with an awareness of what this might mean in reality. The older person is supported to move to a position of active participation in social, cultural and even political life.
Their approach is that when working with human beings, flexibility is essential. They strive to innovate and initiate new meetings between people. It’s no longer a case of a professional and a person with a known neurodegenerative disease. Here, a human meets a human. Another objective of Entr’âges is to recognize the status of resident actors-citizens, with rights and power to act.
One project of Entr’âges involved older people who experienced some form of disorientation (but not necessarily due to dementia) and lived in a local care home, ‘Le Val des Roses’ in Brussels, doing creative art workshops with young art students from ‘La Cambre’ once a week for nine months. Artworks were then exhibited in public spaces.
You can see an inspiring video about this project here: https://vimeo.com/38643425. ‘Something more than the encounter is born out of the encounter’. The narrative is in French, but there are places where the visual is enough without the need for language.
The video narrates the story of members of staff from Entr’âges, art students and residents from “La Val des Roses”. It is a story about building relationships, developing trust, identifying the concerns and being passionate about sharing skills and joys. On one occasion residents were asked to bring a treasured object with them, then they shared the story of why this object was important to them and what it meant; ‘we all felt the same – there were no more older people and young people – all the same’.
Another recent project (‘Wink’) has been around taking photos (http://www.entrages.be/site/portfolio/animation-et-exposition-clin-doeil-terrasse-des-hauts-pres-et-entragesmai-2015/). This is a pilot project that is part of a refl ection on how intergenerational relationships can develop with people with problematic cognitive ageing who live in ‘Terrasses des Hauts Prés’ care home in Uccle, a municipality of Brussels. In 2015, Entr’âges organised a series of meetings between six members of staff and six residents from this home who volunteered to take pictures together.