In this blog post, guest writer Angel Monks summarizes information presented by Maureen Keelan and Jean Tinling in the webinar Promoting Intergenerational Volunteering – Benefits to Seniors and Preschool-Aged Children. They discuss the importance of intergenerational programming for seniors, newcomer seniors, and children and how it contributes to building a sense of community.
Seniors and children are considered vulnerable members of communities. This is especially true for newcomer seniors who face additional barriers due to cultural, social, and language differences. It is essential to facilitate positive opportunities for children and seniors to transition through changes that can feel isolating and overwhelming. Through intergenerational programming, children and seniors can develop mutually beneficial relationships!
Newcomers who have just immigrated often require additional support to access resources in their new country. Newcomer seniors may have trouble adjusting to their new climate due to ongoing mental and physical health changes, transportation issues, loss of independence, loss of status, and family conflict. Social isolation is a challenge faced by newcomer seniors. Many of these seniors have difficulty making new friends due to language and cultural differences.
Benefits of Intergenerational Programming for Newcomer Seniors:
Through intergenerational programming, newcomer seniors build a sense of belonging to their new community. It reduces social isolation, improves mental and physical wellbeing, and is an opportunity to practice language skills in an informal, supportive setting. Newcomer seniors can form meaningful relationships with children and their families, promoting a sense of purpose and belonging by engaging with their new community.
Benefits of Intergenerational Programming for Children:
When children are involved in intergenerational programming, they build trust and independence by engaging with people outside their age group and home environment. Children gain an opportunity to learn a new language, practice social skills, and allow for a new environment for play. Intergenerational programming is also great for children who may be seeking a grandparent figure. They can form this bond with a newcomer senior.
For more information on the benefits of intergenerational volunteering and how to implement intergenerational programming, watch the full webinar on the Families Canada YouTube channel.
Carleton University Student in Childhood and Youth Studies