Over 60s invited to UK’s first ever Age of Love Cafe

  • University of Sheffield researcher launches UK’s first ever Age of Love Cafe where over 60s can eat cake, drink tea and talk about relationships and intimacy
  • Cafe launched to help tackle the stigma surrounding the intimate lives of older adults
  • Research by Dr Sharron Hinchliff has revealed the importance of intimate relationships for people in older adulthood

One of the artworks created by Pete McKee

The UK’s first ever Age of Love Cafe where people aged 60 and older can gather to eat cake, drink tea and talk about relationships and intimacy is being launched by a researcher from the University of Sheffield.

The cafe, developed by Dr Sharron Hinchliff from the University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, is being launched to help tackle the stigma surrounding the intimate lives of older adults.

For the past 18 years, Dr Hinchliff has researched the importance of intimate relationships for people in older adulthood. Her research has found that intimacy is important to the overall health and wellbeing of older adults, however many experience barriers to talking about such issues with their partners, friends and health professionals.

Results from her studies have also found that age-related stereotypes can prevent older adults from seeking and receiving the appropriate care for a sexual concern.

The cafe coincides with an exhibition from Sheffield-based artist Pete McKee. Pete worked alongside Sharron to produce a series of artworks to depict the intimacy and commitment of one couple and some of the challenges and successes they face when trying to 'fix' problems in their relationship. But most of all, the series of artwork shows the couple’s love for each other and provides topics to spark initial discussion amongst attendees.

Dr Hinchliff said: “When we first hosted the Age of Love exhibition in 2018 as part of Festival of the Mind, it was very well received. Visitors loved the characters, Frank and Joy, and could identify with the storyline. The subtle humour that Pete injected into the images helped people to engage with the subject matter, which is private and can be uncomfortable. I loved watching the visitors as they went around the images, their faces showing expressions of sadness and laughter. Many left the exhibition with big smiles on their faces. And I knew from talking to them that we had to take it further.

“The cafes are the first of their kind, which fits Sheffield well as it's a vibrant city, known for its creativity and many firsts. The cafes provide an opportunity for women and men, in separate groups, to talk about issues related to love, relationships, and intimacy in a way that hasn't been done before. I'm really excited about the cafes and having the privilege to work with Pete McKee again. His art is the perfect fit because you can identify with it on many levels: the depiction of everyday life, the way he captures the feeling of the moment, the subtle humour.”

The cafe is a discussion group where conversations are led by the participants with no agenda or objectives. It is split into small groups, and each participant is free to join the conversation, steer it where it feels natural to go, or to just listen.

Conversations are treated in confidence, and participants are expected to be respectful and considerate to others. The cafe is not a counselling session, and it does not involve relationship support.

The cafe is being held on Saturday 15 June 2019 at the Millennium Gallery in Sheffield. The 11am cafe is open to anyone over 60 who identifies as male, and the 2pm session is open to anyone over 60 who identifies as female.

For more information on the women’s session of the Age of Love Cafe, visit: http://www.museums-sheffield.org.uk/whats-on/events/2019/6/age-of-love-caf%C3%A9-womens-session

For more information on the men’s session of the Age of Love Cafe, visit: http://www.museums-sheffield.org.uk/whats-on/events/2019/6/age-of-love-caf%C3%A9-mens-session

For more information on Pete McKee’s Age of Love exhibition, visit: http://www.museums-sheffield.org.uk/museums/millennium-gallery/exhibitions/coming-soon/the-age-of-love-exhibition-%E2%80%93-artwork-by-pete-mckee

Aside from the Age of Love Cafe, Dr Hinchliff has also launched the first website in the UK dedicated solely to providing advice about sex and intimate relationships for older people who feel reluctant to talk to their doctor or get advice from family and friends.

The website, Age, Sex and You, is aiming to improve sexual health in the over 60s.

Additional information

The University of Sheffield

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For further information please contact:

Sean Barton
Media Relations Officer
University of Sheffield
0114 222 9852