An Intergenerational experience at Retirement Concepts
i2i in Istanbul
For the first time since the Age-Friendly Cities initiatives were formed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2006, the International Federation on Ageing (IFA) and Turyak Seniors Council awarded prizes of $20,000 (USD) to two exceptional projects showcasing the best Age-Friendly Cities project and the best future vision for an Age-Friendly City.
The top ten (10) competition finalists included; Hong Kong Housing Society Elderly Resource Centre;Quimper(France); Sharon MacKenzie Educational and Intergenerational Consulting(Canada); Human Endeavour (Canada), Ageing Well Network(Ireland); City of London (Canada); Vietnam Public Health Association (Vietnam); and Los Altos, California (United States). Congratulations to all those who participated. To view the videos demonstrating the top ten finalists age-friendly projects, click on their names above.
The winner of the Best Existing Age-Friendly Initiative category was Age-Friendly New York. The award was accepted by Dr. Ruth Finkelstein of the New York Academy of Medicine. The winner of the Best Future Vision of an Age-Friendly City or Community category was the DIVANET Tri-City Project of Volgograd (Russia), Izmir (Turkey) and Dijon (France) and was accepted by Ms. Elisabeth Biot, Deputy Mayor of Dijon and Mr. Ali Muzaffer Tuncag from the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality.
During the IIIA congress, a $3000 (USD) prize was also awarded to recognize the best full paper presented at the congress. The winner of the Best Full Paper Award was Dr. Freek Lapré of the Netherlands for his paper “Service Quality in Nursing Homes“.
Please share this important work and contribute to building an age-friendly world.
Meadows project goes global
A project that had its conception and development in Vernon has been selected as one of five in an international competition for the most Innovative Intergenerational Solidarity initiative.
The Meadows School Project (www.intergenerational.ca) was judged in June, along with projects from around the world, by world health care researchers and international seniors’ advocates. This week, project founder Sharon MacKenzie, a former Vernon teacher and now executive director of the i2i Intergenerational Society of Canada, is in Istanbul, Turkey to do the final presentation and learn the results of the competition.
The Meadows School Project ran for eight years in Vernon with students from Kidston elementary school and residents and staff at Coldstream Meadows Retirement Community before rolling into a second phase in Williams Lake, now in its third year. Two other projects are slated to begin in Kamloops and Summerland School Districts this year in cooperation with Retirement Concepts facilities.
The Meadows School Project model sees a class of intermediate students move into a makeshift classroom at a seniors’ residence for two full months of the school year.
“Based on the successful concept of immersion used for the understanding of French, Meadows School Project allows students and older adults to share curriculum studies, community service and building one-on-one relationships,” said MacKenzie. “They immerse in the lives of each other to build empathy and intellectual connections.”
Meadows School Project is the banner initiative of the i2i Intergenerational Society, founded in Vernon, led by former student participant, president Sam Nolan. Five of the 10-member board are from Vernon. The society provides free resources and assistance to those wanting to start or share Intergenerational projects. Four years ago it launched June 1 as Intergenerational Day Canada and in 2013, more than 100 cities representing every province and territory proclaimed the day.
The results of the world competition for Vernon’s Meadows School Project, which includes the UN World Health Organization representatives, will be announced this week.
“The results, however, are already in for those who have participated over the years,” said MacKenzie. “Respectful intergenerational relations always puts you in the winner’s circle.”
90 Canadian Cities Proclaim Intergenerational Day
As June 1st was declared Intergenerational Day by 90 cities across Canada it is timely to examine how one of our members, Retirement Concepts, has fully embraced the benefits and values of full immersion in intergenerational programming at its Williams Lake Seniors Village.
The i2i Intergenerational Society of Canada was created in 2008 to assist Canadians in the building of bridges between generations. Founder Sharon Mackenzie has worked for over thirty years connecting school aged children and youth to different generations within their communities. In 2000, then a teacher in Vernon, Sharon approached a neighbor who had recently purchased an Assisted Living Facility. Unsatisfied with the impact of occasional visits to senior care facilities with her students, Sharon was looking for something that would create sustainable relationships and provide unique learning opportunities for both generations. The “Meadows School Project” was born.
A makeshift classroom for thirty students, 9-12 years of age, was set up in the Assisted Living Residence, which housed fifty seniors. Within two weeks Sharon realized that this intergenerational immersion provided a host of benefits for all parties involved. Visible improvement was immediately seen in the mental, physical, and social health of the seniors. The seniors experienced a renewed interest in life and a newly found sense of purpose as a result. As Sharon commented: “Care facilities can be isolating in their very nature. The young students brought with them the life pulse of the community and pulsed back out into the community the wisdom and experience of the seniors.”
For the students the educational and social goals mandated by the Ministries of Education and Health were met. The project plan required that students spend time on their dedicated studies, which for a large part adapted well into the senior context. Sharon discovered that the curriculum really resonated with the students in this environment and that the students had a measurable increase in curriculum retention. The program also required each student to participate in at least ninety minutes of public service each week. This service component provided the students with the opportunity to develop their work ethic. As well, the project created designated daily times for the seniors and students to connect one-on-one. This provided the most valuable outcome. The mutually empathetic and concrete connections made between the seniors and students could only be forged in this setting.
Sharon believes that this was the best experience of her life: “ How often in your life do you have the opportunity to change lives?” The legacy of Sharon’s project can be seen today on the board of directors of the i2i Intergenerational Society: one of the original Meadow School Project students, Sam Nolan, is now the president of the board.
Intergenerational learning has become a new model for senior’s residences and has benefits for the entire community. The Retirement Concepts Williams Lake Seniors Village has embraced an intergenerational immersion project with great success. Janet Catalano, the Recreation Manager, was familiar with the innovative work of Sharon Mackenzie. Janet and the entire leadership team were eager to improve the quality of life of the residents and believed that the immersion of youth and seniors would allow wisdom and experience to be shared throughout the generations. Janet reached out to Mike Grace, the principal of the nearby Cataline Elementary School who was immediately interested. “It was a fantastic opportunity for us to be involved with our community and for us to branch out and incorporate other people into our education.”
Modeled on Sharon’s original project; the Williams Lake Seniors Village Project’s program integrates the students in the daily lives of seniors while allowing them to focus on their ministry-mandated curriculum. Again the approach to the program focuses on academics, service and relationship building between the generations. And again; the intergenerational immersion has been a great success. “I have been teaching school for twenty years and I can honestly say this has been the most rewarding year of my career thus far.” says Cataline Elementary teacher Steve Dickens.
The experience proved that the intergenerational immersion program could build understanding and bridges; and it could dissolve boundaries between generations. Buoyed by the success of the Williams Lake Seniors Village Project, Retirement Concepts is working with Sharon and the i2i Intergenerational Society to implement the intergenerational project in their Summerland Seniors Village and Kamloops Seniors Village facilities. Residents will be able to enjoy the programming this September. Retirement Concepts is dedicated to implementing full immersion intergenerational programming across all of their residences. Let the intergenerational movement begin!
For more information, resources, sharing, and celebrations in the field of intergenerational relations please visit the i2i Intergenerational Society website at http://www.intergenerational.ca. You will also find more information on the groundbreaking Meadows School Project.
For a video on the Williams Lake Seniors Village intergenerational experience please visithttp://www.williamslakeseniorsvillage.com
Written by freelance writer Cathy Szmaus. Photographs kindly contributed by Laureen Carruthers – LaureenCarruthers(at)hotmail.com
Revelstoke, BC, Teens and Seniors, Build Understandings to Defeat Hate Crimes
Thursday, 03 May 2012 12:04
At Moberly Manor last Wednesday, George Hopkins was busy wowing a group of teenagers. First, he showed them his 50-year-old mechanical calculator.
Then, out came the Kodak Brownie – the 19th century camera that revolutionized photography and made it affordable for the masses. He also had a mechanical level with him.
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Revelstoke – School Project Connects Teenagers with Seniors418.19 KB
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