FALL 2017 46
Networking and mentoring at all ages
Nothing creates better understanding
between people than spending time
together. Likewise, bringing together older
adults and youth helps bind us and create
“Mentoring youth re-energizes seniors,”
says Ruby Lecot, of LINKages Society of
Alberta. “They discover they have a lot to
offer and they become more active,” She
adds that the youth who volunteer in one
of the society’s 15 programs also benefit.
“It’s incredible to watch their leadership
skills grow when they care for and interact
with higher-needs seniors.”
The organization’s MusicLINKS
program builds connections through
memories and emotions stirred by the
tunes the youth share with seniors.
In Cochrane, the Seniors for Kids
Society draws on older adults’ knowledge
to teach students. It links seniors with
individual children and classrooms, and
helps ensure that kids receive the loving
attention of a step-in grandparent.
Whether it’s older adults mentoring
youth or youth helping older adults in
long-term care—everyone gains.
To learn more, visit link-ages.ca
and seniorsforkids.ca. N
Meals build connections
Gathering to share a meal is especially
helpful in connecting people.
Wherever families gather for meals—
around a table, kitchen island or
picnic blanket—young children get the
opportunity to build their language skills
and vocabulary and learn about manners
and getting along.
When families sit down to eat together,
parents can check in with kids, and kids
can check in with parents. Everyone can
talk about their day, share ideas and solve
problems; this cements family ties.
Teens who regularly eat with their
parents are often more socially adjusted
and it also appears to reduce eating
disorders in girls.
And when seniors eat with family
members, it helps prevent isolation
As well, families who eat together tend
to eat more fruits, vegetables, grains and
calcium-rich foods and fewer fried foods
and soft drinks.
Eating together builds a sense
of belonging, culture, family
and values. Sharing meals with
family and friends contributes
to everyone’s wellbeing.