November 21, 2019
You are only as old as you feel—and the Elders Voice charity in Kensal Green, London, is showcasing the health and vitality of local seniors in a 2020 calendar with a difference.
Indeed, according a November 19 report by the UK’s Daily Star, the nonprofit—which helps pensioners to stay safe, secure, and independent in their own homes for as long as possible—asked senior models for next year’s calendar to pose naked to break the stigma attached to growing old.
Richard Downes (pictured above dancing with his spouse) decided to get involved in the production of the calendar after his wife, Jean Bayliss, persuaded him to take part.
He told the news outlet, “I only really did it because my wife asked me to. She persuaded me it would be fun, and it would probably be the only time I ever did it. It helped that we have both had a long-term relationship with Elders Voice and feel supportive of the organization.
“Other people may have been more concerned to say, ‘Aye! This is me, I’m 63 and this is how good I look and how great my life is.’
Downes added, “I don’t think anyone was snubbing their nose to the idea of the body beautiful and how we may be excluded from that imagery but maybe some of us were challenging that idea and saying look we’re here, we’re fit, we’re in rude health.
Downes and Bayliss also support the need for nudity: “There is certainly a wide gap being presented in the media between the well-to-do elderly and the lonely, isolated, pathetic bag of bones with nobody to look out for them. I think as a group we responded to that binary choice quite well and put ourselves forward as individuals, warts ‘n’ all.
“It was easy to pose in the nude both on my own and with others,” Downes told the Daily Star. “We were having a fun day and were supportive of each other. Though, having said that, it’s a bit surprising that it was so easy. I guess I have grown accustomed to my body and have less hang-ups now than when I was a gawky gangly kid.”
Ten people, ranging in age from 45 to 84, took part in the photo shoot.
In Rude Health is available to buy from eBay for £15.00 (US$19.40), including postage to a UK address. The charity says that all funds raised from the sales of the calendars will “help us to continue to offer our Older People’s Activity and Exercise Programme and Dementia Care.”
Research contact: @Elders_Voice