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By Sharon McKenzie, Executive Director of I2i Intergenerational Society


WHAT IS INTERGENERATIONAL DAY?

Intergenerational Day was initiated in 2010 by i2i Society and 5 student groups from Newfoundland, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba & British Columbia, with the financial support of the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Intergenerational Day was born in 2010, out of the momentum created by World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). Isolation and loneliness are the two leading causes of poor health in Canada for older adults and for young people alike. For seniors, social isolation is also a major risk factor for elder abuse and neglect. The purpose of IG Day, as it is often referred to, is to illustrate and honour the richness of intergenerational partnerships through varied initiatives and to encourage connections and understanding between age groups, as a prevention approach and a way to encourage all-ages-friendly communities.
To date, 12 provinces and territories and over 100 cities have officially recognized the day with 3 provinces (ON, MB, NB) and the Toronto District School Board proclaiming it by law, in-perpetuity. This year, larger celebrations are taking place at a city-wide level in Toronto, Calgary, and Ottawa.

i2i Intergenerational Society is a volunteer not-for-profit organization that assists individuals and organizations in pursuing respectful and purposeful Intergenerational connections through innovative initiatives and helps share promising intergenerational practice in Canada. A decade of practice with the Meadows School Project (between 2000 and 2010) is the research that informed our purpose. 

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By Kathy Majowski, CNPEA Board Chair

In 2018, the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women called for the public to submit written briefs for the committee’s study on challenges faced by senior women in Canada, with a focus on the factors contributing to their poverty and vulnerability. The committee will release a final report, with recommendations, that will propose steps that the Government of Canada could take to help address these challenges. During the study, the committee will examine challenges faced by older women, including, but not limited to:

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"Canadians living with dementia are entitled to the same human rights as every other Canadian, as outlined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, stigma and discrimination are huge barriers for people with dementia and often contravene these rights.

That’s why the Alzheimer Society of Canada is pleased to officially launch the first-ever Canadian Charter of Rights for People with Dementia. The landmark Charter is the culmination of over a year’s work by the Society’s Advisory Group of people with dementia, whose members represent different walks of life from across the country."

Download the Charter here

Source: Alzheimer Society of Canada

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By Denise Lemire

On November 27, 2018, Denise Lemire, a member of CNPEA's board of directors, participated in a round table organized by Rachel Blaney, NDP MP in Ottawa. No less than 25 stakeholders were there to discuss the challenges and solutions to improve the quality of life of Canadian seniors. The group comprised representatives from national organizations related to housing, Alzheimer's disease, health, research, social services, pensions and many more.

Many potential solutions were identified. Here are just a few of them:

  • Encouraging more intergenerational projects (and even developing intergenerational neighborhoods) and community projects;
  • Developing more awareness campaigns on a variety of topics related to seniors (eg, ageism, abuse, fraud, loneliness, health) - attitudes need to be changed (eg, seniors are not a burden on society);
  • Create more opportunities to educate seniors about these topics. Older adults are not always aware of the services and programs available in their community - we need to find ways to inform them so they know who to turn to when needed.
  • We need to develop more networks and provide financial support for them.
  • Increase financial support to help expand services and programs for seniors (expand the New Horizons funding program for instance)
  • Take into account specific challenges such as linguistic and financial challenges for older immigrants.


Over the years, several calls for a national strategy have emerged; there is a need for an overall vision, hence the importance of establishing a National Seniors Strategy, as advocated by the NDP.  All stakeholders present agreed that now is the time to face challenges and to identify new models (eg in Scandinavia), and new ways of doing things. 

CNPEA made the following recommendations (also sent to Rachel Blaney, Member of Parliament for North Island - Powell River, to Philomena Tassi, Minister of Seniors and Andrew Scheer, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada):

  • Recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all answer:  The word “seniors” fails to  acknowledge the variety of people, life experiences, and age groups -spanning over four decades- currently living in Canada.
  • Develop national awareness campaigns about ageism and elder abuse 
  • Place emphasis on improving social inclusion of older adults: Develop strategies to fight social isolation and combat ageism. Encourage the development of age-friendly cities and intergenerational initiatives. Develop and expand caregiving, housing and transportation support and solutions.
  • Provide sustained financial support for CNPEA: We want to be able to pursue our mission of connecting and sharing knowledge across provinces and territories; offering easy access to valuable information and initiatives that can be adopted and applied across the country, while preventing redundancy; and fostering dynamic collaborations to guarantee that older adults can have a safe, healthy and enjoyable later life.


Ideas or comments for Denise or for CNPEA? Send us an email!

 

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By the Seniors of Canada Team

When it comes to later life, in mainstream media, we find that you typically see two themes: the Viagra/Freedom 55-type photos — affluent, attractive retirees dancing or golfing their way through their golden years — and photos from the other end of the spectrum, often depicting weak, physically frail older people who seem to need help. Oversimplified stereotypes like these fuel ageist narratives and add to a belief that all older people fit into one of two boxes. Ageism cuts across the life course and is understood as occurring when one is perceived to be too old or too young to be or to do something (Nelson, 2005). The most socially “normalized” of any prejudice, ageism is a widespread practice and has negative impacts on older people’s health and well-being. Ageist beliefs can, in fact, be internalized, and older people may come to believe the negative stereotypes about their age group. We know that older age is characterized by great diversity and with aging populations around the world, we need to act now to generate a positive effect on individuals and society.

 

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