Age Exchange was formed in 1983 by Pam Schweitzer MBE, in recognition of the growing understanding of the value of reminiscence to healthy, but often lonely, older people; but also for those who were frail and being looked after in care settings.
For over 30 years, Age Exchange has developed new ways of working to reduce loneliness and isolation. From an older peoples reminiscence theatre group ‘The Good Companions’ that toured the UK and Europe – to preserving history through reminiscence projects such as ‘Memories of Evacuation in World War II’ which is documented in the book ‘Goodnight Children Everywhere’.
Over the last 15 years, in recognition of a growing older population, Age Exchange has expanded its work with the corresponding number of people who have found themselves as carers for older relatives. Our ‘Caring Together’ service provides much needed weekly support to carers in south East London. Within the trend of an Aging population we also identified the need to help people to live well with dementia both in the community and in care settings. Our reminiscence arts intervention (RADIQL™) which combines reminiscence with a wide range of the arts, has independent evidence of impact on the wellbeing of people with dementia.
In July 2018 Age Exchange formed a partnership with national care charity Community Integrated Care and is now a wholly owned subsidiary of it’s partner charity but retains it’s name, charity registration and own Board of Trustees. Age Exchange and Community Integrated Care are pursuing a bold vision of expansion with a target of opening four more Age Exchange hubs by 2023.
We pass on our expertise through providing specialist reminiscence training for other professionals, from libraries, care homes, and museums, to name a few.
Our community hub remains at the heart of Blackheath village providing a library, reminiscence café and activities for older people, ranging from art classes, belly dancing and seated Pilates. For over 33 years we have been committed to supporting older people to remain healthy and well, whether through a specialist intervention, or through everyday support provided in our centre and in the community by our team of 85 active volunteers.