Connecting Seniors through Technology
Linking Generations is thought of as the organization where kind souls meet. LG created programs to address the essential needs of community connectedness and social isolation. The benefits of Intergenerational programming are huge for all involved. The youth are learning from the past founders and leaders of our province, hands-on learning through the eyes of their senior friend. While the seniors build new friendships with a young person, who is not a relative and who loves to hear their stories while relishing in the fascinating life these seniors have lived.
This has been a challenging year for our seniors - As Linking Generations navigated a new world created by this challenging COVID global pandemic, the need for intergenerational connections between seniors and youth became more evident than ever before. The past months reinforced how critical it is that our community seniors be connected to family and to friends. With severe visiting restrictions placed at all senior facilities, many seniors have had little or no contact with the outside world. LG created a letter writing program, where all program participating students wrote weekly letters to their “linked” seniors. Each week, LG Program Coordinators would forward these special letters to the senior facilities so that they could be delivered like regular mail. Seniors even undertook with writing back to the students! We are proud to share that over 250 letters/emails had been shared between the linked students and seniors! Some of the participating LG seniors and students also connected virtually through Skye or Zoom. Lg ensured that our seniors remained cared for, valued and connected.
With COVID-19, it has been even more evident that our seniors are isolated, lonely and withdrawn. It is critical that we keep seniors connected to youth. It is our goal to purchase iPads so that we can connect our seniors through Facebook, Facetime, Zoom Skye etc until our students and youth can reconnect in person. Our senior care facilities do not have devices that can be loaned to our seniors.
In the wake of COVID-19 and the start of moving towards a new normal, Linking Generations is planning the 2020-2021 Program re-start. Although no-one can determine at this time what September will bring, Linking Generations will have their program planned and ready to go. LG is committed to providing programs to help seniors better cope through the pandemic and day to day life in general.
Who Will it Benefit?
This past year, LG had 349 seniors and students participate. An increase of 22% growth over last year. Students build friendships with the same senior for a 10-month period, a huge commitment from both seniors and students. LG currently has eight school and senior centre partnerships.