Mutual respect, an expanded outlook on the world, better access to the broader community – all these and more benefits emerge as the different age groups begin to bond.
October is Seniors’ and Elders’ Month in Manitoba, a time to showcase and celebrate seniors’ contributions to our province, our communities and our families.
This year’s theme is Celebrate, Participate – so get involved and plan an event in your community. People of all ages are encouraged to attend events and celebrations this month. Work together to make it a truly age-friendly celebration.
During Age-Friendly Week in June, I was fortunate to participate in an interesting discussion between members of the Manitoba Council on Aging and the MB4Youth Advisory Council. They got together to talk about intergenerational relationships and communication. Have you ever had a difficult conversation with your grandchild or your teenage neighbour? Do you ever wonder why your grandchildren send you text messages instead of calling?
The key message of their discussion was the need for mutual respect. They identified that technology plays a helpful role in communication – particularly in matters of efficiency – to identify when and where to meet for example. Still, face-to-face contact was a better way to connect and avoid misinterpretation. This is what Age-Friendly is about – respect and inclusion.
The two groups also recognized the importance of intergenerational programming. These programs build positive relationships and increase communication between people of different ages. The benefits of intergenerational programming are immediate and visible. Younger people may benefit from an expanded outlook on life, improved self-esteem, increased sense of citizenship, better social and other skills and reduced fear of aging. Older people may benefit from an improved quality of life, better access to the broader community, friendship and opportunities to be role models.
Look around at the organizations in your community for opportunities to volunteer with people of other ages. Contact the Seniors and Healthy Aging Secretariat for program ideas, such as Seniors Are Cool! and Across the Generations. Recognize that an Age-Friendly Manitoba is a program that helps people of all ages connect with their communities.
An interesting event to be held this month is a public forum on age-friendly rural and remote communities on Monday, Oct. 15 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, 300 Memorial Boulevard. This forum is part of an international symposium on age-friendly rural and remote communities. Join us as experts from around the world share their experiences, expertise and ideas about aging, leadership, partnership and sustainability in rural and remote age-friendly communities.