Defeating isolation and loneliness of older adults and youth
Intergenerational Day Canada was initiated in 2010 nationwide as a day to celebrate the importance of respectful intergenerational relationships. In 2009, Dr. Elizabeth Podnieks contracted Sharon MacKenzie to develop the WEAAD Teen Kit. Soon into the project, Sharon, the seniors and the teens saw two things clearly.
1. Although teens were keen to assist in recognition of WEAAD, June 15 was busy at school with little opportunity for participation, and
2. In working together everyone realized developing meaningful relationships between the generations actually prevented elder mistreatment by fostering empathy.
Clearly, children/youth and seniors coming purposefully together improves mental health of all involved, defeats ageist attitudes and empowers both generations within all-age-friendly communities. Now over 100 Canadian cities and 12 provinces and territories officially recognize June 1st Intergenerational Day Canada, with New Brunswick, Ontario and Manitoba recognizing it in perpetuity. It is a day that says ‘Prevention is a cure.’
The WEAAD "Teen Kit" (En/Fr) is available at here at intergenerational.ca. This toolkit provides guidance and suggests activities for projects for teenagers and young adults to increase awareness of elder abuse. These projects can be done at any time although organizers are encouraged to consider June 1st (Intergenerational Day) and June 15th (WEAAD) for presentations, etc.
Visit the bccrns.ca Resource page for more intergenerational community resources, including an Intergenerational Community Guide, and the It's Not Right! Program, which provides education on elder abuse.