Vancouver can be a lonely city, even more so for older people – and that was before the COVID-19 pandemic forced residents to stay home.
Prior to the pandemic, UBC PhD candidate Callista Ottoni had been planning to study the role social connections play in the health of older adults. Stay-at-home orders foiled her plans to interview her participants in person, but they gave Ottoni another idea: She asked them to take photos of moments where they felt either isolated or connected.
The images provided an intimate, deeper window into their lives, and became jumping off points for interviews by phone or Zoom that informed Ottoni’s recently published research. “Too often older people are depicted as simply vulnerable, and I was motivated to undertake this research to challenge that stereotype,” Ottoni says. “I was blown away by participant stories of resilience, new friendships, and seniors reaching out to help other seniors.”
The images are on display Sept. 28-Oct. 12, 2022, in an interactive exhibit at Barclay Manor in Vancouver’s West End. Visitors will have an opportunity to respond to the images with written comments posted on the wall.
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