|IMPROVING HEALTH THROUGH IG CONNECTING|
Depression, loneliness and marginalization are situations that plague our modern society. These conditions and states of mind can lead to poor physical health as a result of improper diet and lack of physical activity. Individuals suffering in these areas may take medication to cheer themselves, or may just live a reclusive life. In the elderly, medication can lead to unsteady feet and less than clear vision, and result in disabling falls. A depressed youth can feel so estranged that his or her life seems like a huge void of loneliness.
Children, youth and seniors are often the victims of a society that moves fast. As they are less likely to be involved in commerce or the making of money, they do often have unscheduled time which all too often they spend alone, waiting for the ‘workforce’ to come home, or to visit.
When the opportunity to ‘take time’ in an IG initiative purposefully connects seniors and youth/children, wonderful things start to happen. Friendships spring out of the simplest shared experiences-the same birthday month, a loose tooth, a favourite ice cream flavour, a common trait.
Happiness and the feeling of being cared about are important, but in IG relationships, the feeling of being able to care for also breeds happiness. One student when asked about his experiences in the Meadows School Immersion Project commented on how special it was to be loved by someone other than your own family, and to care for them back.
Senior buddies, not wanting to disappoint young friends, put minor aches and pains aside so that they can come to see a class presentation, share a game of dominoes, or go for a walk. The children and youth have an opportunity to shed some of the mantra of their demanding social setting amongst their peers at the school. The atmosphere is more accepting, less competitive, and there is an appreciation of youth.
Once trust and respect are established between generations, good humour and ease take over, and everyone knows that a smile is more therapeutic than an frown!
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
i2i Intergenerational Society
British Columbia / Canada