The Benefits of Events in Older Life

Raphaela Stadler, Allan Jepson, Emma Wood

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


There is a substantial and growing body of knowledge evidencing the many wellbeing benefits of a variety of leisure activities as we age. These include art and culture (Noice, Noice, & Kramer, 2013), sports (Heo, Culp, Yamada, & Won, 2013), tourism (Morgan, Pritchard, & Sedgely, 2015), craft (Reynolds, 2010) and volunteering (Skinner, Joseph, & Hanlon, 2015. The reasons behind the benefits of such activities are many and varied but undoubtedly relate to social stimulation and mental engagement. Most of these can be delivered through some form of event. The role of events as interventions to alleviate some of the challenges of ageing has been overlooked in much of the literature and the older audience neglected by event scholars (Yeoman, 2013). This chapter begins to address this neglect, commencing with an overview of current trends and statistics on ageing societies, as well as a discussion of two of the main challenges for a larger proportion of older adults, social isolation and loneliness. It then explores the benefits of using events as interventions to combat these issues and more specifically discusses the concepts of social inclusion, developing confidence and self-worth, and enhancing quality of life through event attendance. We then present a case study based on our research into participatory arts events for the over-70s in rural Hertfordshire, U.K., and discuss these in relation to the concepts covered in this chapter. Three key features of events are further explored which were found to be particularly important to older participants: accessibility, regular opportunities to engage in events, and participatory, creative and/or challenging elements of events. Practical implications and recommendations for event organisers and wider policy makers are also provided.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Events
EditorsStephen Page, Joanne Connell
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9780429280993
ISBN (Print)9780367236489
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


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