As part of our #BREAKFREE from ageism week, one writer explains why it's time the older women in our lives got the recognition they deserve
I’ve always been close to my grandma. Unfortunately my mother had to go back to work soon after I was born so during the day I was left in her care.
She was only in her 40s back then. I remember her being able to dance around, rather frivolously. She would laugh and be lively. She’d spin around in her skirt and her smile would envelope the room. They are my happiest memories.
But in 2005, my grandma fell down her stairs at her home; from top to bottom. She was only in her early 50s, and I was only 11. But when she came out of hospital, our roles reversed. And I took care of her.
Ten years later, and my grandma has changed again. She’s in a care home, has epilepsy, diabetes and experiences hallucinations from time to time. She isn’t viewed as a strong person anymore.
I’m 21 and as she becomes dependent, I’m starting to become independent. As she moves out of her house, I’m moving into my own. I’m studying for a degree. But she’s lived a life – and I haven’t. Not yet. So why am I ‘strong’, and why is she ‘weak’?
My grandma has achieved a lot. She survived her accident. She worked in a shoe shop – earning money for her, and my granddad.
She brought up my mum and my uncle. She cared for her father until he went into a home.
If someone talked to my grandma about her past, they’d see through her age.
It’s about time that we all started recognising the strength that our mothers, our grandmothers and our great-grandmothers have, just because they may be losing strength physically.
They have strength in their wisdom and their experiences.
And we need to talk about that.
Read more about our #BREAKFREE from ageism campaign here