June 1 is Intergenerational Day
June 1 is Intergenerational Day, celebrated in Canada since 2010*. Last year, it was officially declared here in Ottawa (for the first time) by Mayor Jim Watson, thanks to the efforts of iGen Ottawa.
Intergenerational Day celebrates the richness of intergenerational relationships. It encourages connections between people of different age groups to reduce loneliness and social isolation, and encourages age-friendly communities.
As an organization, with two long-term care homes, that on any given day is serving over 1000 older adults, we are happy to be participating in Intergenerational Day 2020. And this year, as we adjust to the new norm of physical distancing and have visitor restrictions in place, the opportunity for social connection is more important than ever.
As a resource for long-term care homes, the Ontario CLRI at Bruyère has developed a resource summarizing some of the creative ways that long-term care homes can continue intergenerational initiatives while respecting physical distancing.
Some of these creative methods are being rolled out at Bruyère…
- We have seen residents at Bruyère’s long-term care homes delighted by art made by children in our community. This art has been posted throughout the homes, provided to residents, put on placemats for resident’s mealtrays, and made into banners at the main entrances of each of Bruyère’s campuses. Thank you to two local groups of kids – World Changing Kids and Kid Art with Heart - for brightening peoples’ day with the colourful and creative art.
- Before the pandemic, the team at Bruyère’s Saint-Louis Residence, in collaboration with iGen Ottawa, was developing plans for an intergenerational garden. It’s a grassroots initiative with plans to involve children from local schools. The garden will bring together children and older adults in an inclusive space to learn and grow. Until we can meet physically, community children have placed painted rocks with messages of hope and encouragement in a ‘Gratitude Garden’ that graces the front entrance of the care home. This rock garden is just the beginning of our Intergenerational Garden and we look forward to seeing it grow in the years ahead.
We all have basic human needs to connect with other people, and the COVID19 pandemic has reminded us of just how critical that need is. Creative strategies are needed to help keep our generations connected. Initiatives that bring generations together help to reduce loneliness and social isolation across our communities.
On this Intergenerational Day, we encourage you to explore what’s happening in your own community, and see if there is an organization that is already working to support residents living in long-term care homes. Take the time to connect with the people in your life of all different ages. Paint some rocks and bring them to a local care home. There are opportunities for all of us to come together as a community right now to support one another and find strength in acts of beautiful kindness.
*IGen day has been celebrated in Canada since 2010 and was founded by i2i Intergenerational Society and five Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) funded student groups from Newfoundland, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia.