June 1st is Intergenerational Day!

May 31, 2023 | Blog, Knowledge Exchange

June 1st is recognized as Intergenerational Day, which celebrates and promotes respectful, purposeful connections between students and older adults in their communities.

The i2i Society, a group formed by schools across Canada to connect students and older generations within their community, created Intergenerational Day in 2000. i2i shares resources, research, events, and information about intergenerational immersion and programming.

“The 13th annual National Intergenerational Day highlights the work being done across our country to mend loneliness and isolation, build profound relationships, and inspire positive change after the debilitating consequences of the global pandemic,” LINKages, the i2i Society, and GénérActions, organizers and advocates of Intergenerational Day, shared in a join release.

Intergenerational Day is a recognized day by over 100 cities across Canada, and was celebrated by 12 provinces and territories in 2022. Find out more about local initiatives and i2i on their website.

Why is Intergenerational programming important?

“Health studies show that social isolation (for both youth and seniors) is more dangerous than smoking 15 cigarettes a day,” explains the organizers. “Intergenerational programs are the cure. They are low cost, high impact and mend the fabric of society torn apart by isolation.”

For older adults, intergenerational learning can break down generational stereotypes of younger people, improve their mental, physical, and social health, build an understanding of modern culture, and share stories.

For young people, intergenerational learning can break down generational stereotypes of older adults, improve mental, physical, and social health, teach valuable life lessons, develop interest in pursuing careers involving older adults, and spread good will into the community.

What organizations are supporting intergenerational programming?

GrandPals, LINKages, and North Shore Community Resources’ InterGen NS are three organizations among many in Canada that connect older adults and students together through activities, storytelling, and friendships.

GrandPals, a program managed by the Centre for Studies in Aging and Health at Providence Care, connects classrooms with older adults in their communities through storytelling. The program has partnered with communities in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario. GrandPals has just launched a new website that highlights intergenerational stories and resources.

LINKages offers intergenerational training, after school programs, music programs, a community of practice, and more. The organization is based out of Alberta and works with volunteers to build bridges between generations.

InterGen NS connects people of different ages with a program directory and resource hub to help organizations and community groups develop sustainable intergenerational initiatives throughout the North Shore in British Columbia.

How can you promote Intergenerational connections?

i2i suggests simple ways to start connecting with someone from another generation:

  • Help some you meet, smile and make eye contact, wish them a good day
  • Call someone you know, add a reminder to keep connected, make a gift
  • Sit down for a chat, go for a walk, write a card
  • Share a meal with someone you know
  • Go to a movie together
  • Play a game together
  • Enjoy a treat together

All of these activities, from a few seconds to an hour or two, connect you with someone from another generation with respect, honour, and without ageist discrimination.

Online, you can spread the word by using the hashtags #Intergenerational #IGDay and #IntergenerationalDay, and share information from groups like i2isociety or your local intergenerational program. Find inspiration and resources here.

But intergenerational connections don’t just happen once a year! Consider what kinds of activities you can do to bridge the gap between, check out local programs in your area, and ask yourself: “How can I make my community a little closer for people across the decades?”