FOCUS ON SENIORS: The aging dialogues

Opinion Apr 14, 2016 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

The “Tell me a story” series featured in the Brant News last fall, generated several exciting outcomes. One key result was an invitation for the intergenerational autobiographical writing class to exhibit at Themuseum in Kitchener.  

This exhibit, called The Aging Dialogues: Sharing Wisdom, Preserving Our Legacies, opened on March 5 and will be on display until April 30. The exhibit focuses on human connections and showcases diverse voices and creativity spanning generations with shared memories, relationships and personal belongings. A dialogue series featuring prominent speakers, film screenings and events is running concurrently with this exhibition. 

This museum invitation served to strengthen the partnership between the Grand River Council on Aging and Wilfrid Laurier University. When the students and seniors voted to accept the invitation, it completely changed the direction and focus of the class.

On Sunday, the writing class brought the partnership to life as course professor Michael Ackerman moderated a panel dialogue while students and seniors described their writing endeavours.

Assignments completed by student and senior pairs, form an integral part of this exhibit on aging. While viewing the projects, visitors to Themuseum can also listen to audio recordings of the students describing their work.

Throughout the writing class, an easy rapport developed amongst the professor and the students of all ages. Participants agree that this class was as much about relationships as it was about learning and exploring creativity.  

During the panel dialogue, a fifth-year student remarked that it wasn’t until she took this class that she actually got to know some of her fellow students.  

This writing class demonstrated that it isn’t necessary to be at the end of your lives, or a senior to write an autobiography. An autobiography can detail a period of time in your life, or a specific event.

One student-senior pair was delighted at being matched up when they discovered a mutual passion for travel. They coached each other to bring their projects through to completion, resulting in self-published, hard cover books depicting their visits to other countries. Emails exchanged between the two, demonstrated a healthy tension as they pushed each other to produce their best work.

Another student elected to depict her life in a painting. This somewhat dark and eclectic piece showed the many influences and pressures in her life, and her decision to raise above them by putting herself front and centre.  

With two separate and distinct age groups reflected in this class, age was never a factor.  Instead, there was a healthy interest to gain insight and understanding from each other, with genuine respect for the others’ lived experiences.

From initial uncertainty and trepidation in the beginning of the class as students were presented with the intergenerational approach, came true commitment to dialoguing with seniors and working together. Relationships and friendships developed, which served to enhance and strengthen the learning opportunities.  

As the Grand River Council works to promote age-friendliness, it can be proud of this initial exploration to bridging the gaps between youth and seniors. It can also be proud of its developing partnership with Laurier Brantford. Board president Lucy Marco was on hand to hear the panel members’ discussion and view the projects on display. At the conclusion, she was the first to commend and congratulate the participants for their efforts. Another speaker, the daughter of one of the participants, spoke of how important this class had become to her mom as she added her congratulations.

Clearly there should be more dialogues about aging and what it means to grow older. This small group of 14 students and 16 seniors will be forever changed by their interactions with each other during this inaugural writing class. The many connections and conversations served to change perceptions and expand understanding, to conclude that age is just a number. 

Another positive outcome from this inaugural writing class is that Laurier Brantford is planning to offer additional opportunities for intergenerational education and learning. The university is to be commended for its willingness to explore this concept and its’ response to changing needs in our community.

The Aging Dialogues at Themuseum continue throughout the month of April.

Seeing each other for the first time in months, participants caught up after the panel discussion. The seniors wanted to know what the students had planned post-graduation and the students wanted to know what was new in the seniors’ lives.

Congratulations to all the participants in this class and special best wishes to the graduating students. May your futures be bright.

FOCUS ON SENIORS: The aging dialogues

Kitchener’s Themuseum shows off results of student-senior writing class at Laurier Brantford

Opinion Apr 14, 2016 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

The “Tell me a story” series featured in the Brant News last fall, generated several exciting outcomes. One key result was an invitation for the intergenerational autobiographical writing class to exhibit at Themuseum in Kitchener.  

This exhibit, called The Aging Dialogues: Sharing Wisdom, Preserving Our Legacies, opened on March 5 and will be on display until April 30. The exhibit focuses on human connections and showcases diverse voices and creativity spanning generations with shared memories, relationships and personal belongings. A dialogue series featuring prominent speakers, film screenings and events is running concurrently with this exhibition. 

This museum invitation served to strengthen the partnership between the Grand River Council on Aging and Wilfrid Laurier University. When the students and seniors voted to accept the invitation, it completely changed the direction and focus of the class.

On Sunday, the writing class brought the partnership to life as course professor Michael Ackerman moderated a panel dialogue while students and seniors described their writing endeavours.

Assignments completed by student and senior pairs, form an integral part of this exhibit on aging. While viewing the projects, visitors to Themuseum can also listen to audio recordings of the students describing their work.

Throughout the writing class, an easy rapport developed amongst the professor and the students of all ages. Participants agree that this class was as much about relationships as it was about learning and exploring creativity.  

During the panel dialogue, a fifth-year student remarked that it wasn’t until she took this class that she actually got to know some of her fellow students.  

This writing class demonstrated that it isn’t necessary to be at the end of your lives, or a senior to write an autobiography. An autobiography can detail a period of time in your life, or a specific event.

One student-senior pair was delighted at being matched up when they discovered a mutual passion for travel. They coached each other to bring their projects through to completion, resulting in self-published, hard cover books depicting their visits to other countries. Emails exchanged between the two, demonstrated a healthy tension as they pushed each other to produce their best work.

Another student elected to depict her life in a painting. This somewhat dark and eclectic piece showed the many influences and pressures in her life, and her decision to raise above them by putting herself front and centre.  

With two separate and distinct age groups reflected in this class, age was never a factor.  Instead, there was a healthy interest to gain insight and understanding from each other, with genuine respect for the others’ lived experiences.

From initial uncertainty and trepidation in the beginning of the class as students were presented with the intergenerational approach, came true commitment to dialoguing with seniors and working together. Relationships and friendships developed, which served to enhance and strengthen the learning opportunities.  

As the Grand River Council works to promote age-friendliness, it can be proud of this initial exploration to bridging the gaps between youth and seniors. It can also be proud of its developing partnership with Laurier Brantford. Board president Lucy Marco was on hand to hear the panel members’ discussion and view the projects on display. At the conclusion, she was the first to commend and congratulate the participants for their efforts. Another speaker, the daughter of one of the participants, spoke of how important this class had become to her mom as she added her congratulations.

Clearly there should be more dialogues about aging and what it means to grow older. This small group of 14 students and 16 seniors will be forever changed by their interactions with each other during this inaugural writing class. The many connections and conversations served to change perceptions and expand understanding, to conclude that age is just a number. 

Another positive outcome from this inaugural writing class is that Laurier Brantford is planning to offer additional opportunities for intergenerational education and learning. The university is to be commended for its willingness to explore this concept and its’ response to changing needs in our community.

The Aging Dialogues at Themuseum continue throughout the month of April.

Seeing each other for the first time in months, participants caught up after the panel discussion. The seniors wanted to know what the students had planned post-graduation and the students wanted to know what was new in the seniors’ lives.

Congratulations to all the participants in this class and special best wishes to the graduating students. May your futures be bright.

FOCUS ON SENIORS: The aging dialogues

Kitchener’s Themuseum shows off results of student-senior writing class at Laurier Brantford

Opinion Apr 14, 2016 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

The “Tell me a story” series featured in the Brant News last fall, generated several exciting outcomes. One key result was an invitation for the intergenerational autobiographical writing class to exhibit at Themuseum in Kitchener.  

This exhibit, called The Aging Dialogues: Sharing Wisdom, Preserving Our Legacies, opened on March 5 and will be on display until April 30. The exhibit focuses on human connections and showcases diverse voices and creativity spanning generations with shared memories, relationships and personal belongings. A dialogue series featuring prominent speakers, film screenings and events is running concurrently with this exhibition. 

This museum invitation served to strengthen the partnership between the Grand River Council on Aging and Wilfrid Laurier University. When the students and seniors voted to accept the invitation, it completely changed the direction and focus of the class.

On Sunday, the writing class brought the partnership to life as course professor Michael Ackerman moderated a panel dialogue while students and seniors described their writing endeavours.

Assignments completed by student and senior pairs, form an integral part of this exhibit on aging. While viewing the projects, visitors to Themuseum can also listen to audio recordings of the students describing their work.

Throughout the writing class, an easy rapport developed amongst the professor and the students of all ages. Participants agree that this class was as much about relationships as it was about learning and exploring creativity.  

During the panel dialogue, a fifth-year student remarked that it wasn’t until she took this class that she actually got to know some of her fellow students.  

This writing class demonstrated that it isn’t necessary to be at the end of your lives, or a senior to write an autobiography. An autobiography can detail a period of time in your life, or a specific event.

One student-senior pair was delighted at being matched up when they discovered a mutual passion for travel. They coached each other to bring their projects through to completion, resulting in self-published, hard cover books depicting their visits to other countries. Emails exchanged between the two, demonstrated a healthy tension as they pushed each other to produce their best work.

Another student elected to depict her life in a painting. This somewhat dark and eclectic piece showed the many influences and pressures in her life, and her decision to raise above them by putting herself front and centre.  

With two separate and distinct age groups reflected in this class, age was never a factor.  Instead, there was a healthy interest to gain insight and understanding from each other, with genuine respect for the others’ lived experiences.

From initial uncertainty and trepidation in the beginning of the class as students were presented with the intergenerational approach, came true commitment to dialoguing with seniors and working together. Relationships and friendships developed, which served to enhance and strengthen the learning opportunities.  

As the Grand River Council works to promote age-friendliness, it can be proud of this initial exploration to bridging the gaps between youth and seniors. It can also be proud of its developing partnership with Laurier Brantford. Board president Lucy Marco was on hand to hear the panel members’ discussion and view the projects on display. At the conclusion, she was the first to commend and congratulate the participants for their efforts. Another speaker, the daughter of one of the participants, spoke of how important this class had become to her mom as she added her congratulations.

Clearly there should be more dialogues about aging and what it means to grow older. This small group of 14 students and 16 seniors will be forever changed by their interactions with each other during this inaugural writing class. The many connections and conversations served to change perceptions and expand understanding, to conclude that age is just a number. 

Another positive outcome from this inaugural writing class is that Laurier Brantford is planning to offer additional opportunities for intergenerational education and learning. The university is to be commended for its willingness to explore this concept and its’ response to changing needs in our community.

The Aging Dialogues at Themuseum continue throughout the month of April.

Seeing each other for the first time in months, participants caught up after the panel discussion. The seniors wanted to know what the students had planned post-graduation and the students wanted to know what was new in the seniors’ lives.

Congratulations to all the participants in this class and special best wishes to the graduating students. May your futures be bright.