June 2015 is the 31st annual Seniors’ Month in Ontario with the theme Vibrant Seniors, Vibrant Communities. A large part of what makes a vibrant community is the inter-generational aspect.
Planet Longevity submits our theme “Inter-generational Opportunities: Things that Bond Us”, by way of proposing to Seniors’ organizations, that they develop more outward messaging to attract younger generations to join a conversation on issues of mutual concern. So with our view to help celebrate in a broader way – why not make it Seniors’ Summer?
Issues such as affordable living, accessible community design and social inclusion are of common concern to people regardless of age and stage of life. Conversations need to be framed as such, to positively create an inter-generational narrative in an age where wider economic disparities layer in as one of the multiple concerns of an aging population.
Canada was a major contributor to the World Health Organization (WHO) Age-friendly Cities Guide published in 2007. In 2013, the Ontario government published its own Age-friendly Community Guide. Two of the key elements in the WHO guide are social participation & respect and social inclusion. Within these two elements, lie the benefits of having better inter-generational connections and these are integral to the success of age-friendly communities.
To a large extent, Seniors bring insights from varied careers and have lived through several economic cycles over many decades, and together with those not so senior they are making their way into the same challenging future. Let’s find ways to take advantage of inter-generational connections to help build and strengthen our communities.
Summer is also the perfect time where all generations have more time to be together and, in a less pressured way, can open conversations about practical topics that are often sensitive to family dynamics, such as powers of attorney, care directives, wills and estate planning.
Finally, in reference to the fun side of summer, the season every one of any age looks forward to in Ontario; this Seniors’ Summer is an opportunity to encourage more inter-generational participation in one of the eight WHO age-friendly aspects – promoting neighbourhood projects to build and beautify outdoor spaces. Happy Seniors’ Summer!
The Planet Longevity Team