I came across this story online and had to share it as the focus is both youth and seniors. A grade 5 class in Summit, New Jersey visited Sage Eldercare to participate in a sensitivity training. This is the fourth year this elementary school has visited Sage Eldercare as part of their intergenerational programming.
What better way to sensitive youth to the process of aging in a very hands on way? The activities ranged from wearing rubber gloves with cotton inside the fingertips to vision impaired glasses to show how one as they age can lose the ability to feel what they are touching, to easily pick-up items, how vision can worsen along with the students feeding one another to simulate how this could be necessary due to physical or cognitive limitations.
In addition to the sensitivity training, the students also interacted with the adult members of SAGE’s Spend-A-Day Adult Day Health Center by playing bingo, answering trivia questions, and participating in an exercise program.
Programs like this are very beneficial to both generations and should occur more often. Locally, a primary school here in the Montreal area had a few seniors with Alzheimer’s visit to discuss and share symptoms of the disease and raise awareness of the disease and in exchange some of the students will go to a local agency to visit, interact and see the type of programming that is offered and available to an individual with Alzheimer’s.
Opportunities like the ones listed above are a wonderful way for youth and seniors to interact and each generation has much to offer the other. Education, raising awareness, social responsibility, and normalizing the aging process are important for youth to take part in and witness as they are the future generation and the future leaders. I imagine we all want youth to grow up with values and a sense of social responsibility so they can step into adulthood with ease and as future advocates for necessary and needed change along with appreciation of and for the older individuals of society.
Written by Victoria Brewster, MSW
SJS Staff Writer in Canada