Now more than ever we are seeing an increasing gap between old people and young, and in order to reduce and close the gap, Intergenerational Day on June 1 was created. The day is a way to bring different generations together by helping them see the similar connections they have with each other. It is also a way to reduce loneliness, depression, anxiety, and stress that people of all ages experience. Of course, medical attention and treatment will likely cure such illnesses.

However, at the same time, studies have shown that having someone to talk to helps as well. Old people tend to be at a stage in their lives where they are not usually busy with things that may have taken up much of their time before (i.e. family and work). Young people, on the other hand, would have so much going on in their lives that they would need a guiding hand to see them through. This is where Intergenerational Day comes into play.

History of Intergenerational Day

The idea for Intergenerational Day came to a teacher from British Columbia in Canada in 2009. The teacher was working with students on projects related to World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Students were being taught about the respect, care, and love the elders in society deserve, and within one year, the passion for the projects gained so much momentum that 2010 saw the first Intergenerational Day being celebrated.

The concept for the day was taken up by the i2i Intergenerational Society and five other school groups from Quebec, Manitoba, Ontario, Newfoundland, and British Columbia. The i2i is a nonprofit society that helps people and organizations promote initiatives related to connecting the elderly and the young. Since the day’s inception in 2010, it has been celebrated in 12 territories and more than 100 cities. In fact, the day is viewed with so much importance that the Toronto District School Board has mandated it through law.

Years of research have shown the lack of care and attention to our elders will leave the generation feeling depressed and developing physical and mental ailments. If a society’s elders are neglected, the younger generation will have a lot to lose in the form of culture, history, life experiences, and empathetic skills. Therefore, we must take care of the generations that need it the most. By helping the old and the new connect, we are securing our past, present, and future. You can play your part on this day by visiting old age homes and spending time with the elders there. Humans, at the core of it, do not require elaborate displays of affection. All they require is a social connection with someone ready to listen and be with them, and Intergenerational Day reiterates this message loud and clear.

How to Observe Intergenerational Day

  1. Visit an old age home

    Pay a visit to the old age home to spend some time over there. You do not have to have a solid plan of activities that you would do with elders over there. Giving them company and just talking to them about their interests and life experiences will make for a good time. You could even make this a regular thing by paying a visit to them throughout the year.

  2. Spend time with elders in the family

    Call up the elders in your life to spend the day with them. Make the most of the day by taking them out for dinner, playing board games with them, and/or socializing over a tray of favorite snacks. Tell them you appreciate them for all that they have achieved in life and how you would like to have their guidance and love throughout your life.

  3. Educate the youngsters

    Talk to the young people around you about the importance of respecting the elders in society. Tell people about the importance of being there for older generations and vice versa. Each generation can bring something important to the table, and we should never forget this.

Why Intergenerational Day Is Important

  1. It’s a celebration of intergenerational interaction

    Intergenerational interaction has always been important. Having mentors and students in life will help one become exposed to several different perspectives and experiences. You are not limited to a set worldview. Instead, you will get to look at things from a viewpoint that you may have never considered before and it is now helping you solve a problem.

  2. It’s a celebration of social solidarity

    Human beings are social creatures, and this much has been established through countless research papers. We need connections with other human beings, be it to feel validated or to simply be heard. Being there for each other helps us cope better with problems plaguing our lives.

  3. It’s a celebration of empathy

    Empathy can become humanity’s biggest weapon against all problems. If we learn to empathize with others, we will not only become better human beings, but we will also be able to establish a stronger society for today and tomorrow.

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Author: National Today