“Attention must be paid!” shoutsthe 12-member cast of We Decide asthe play ends. The recent productionby GeriActors & Friends, anintergenerational theatre company,explores how aging involves letting go.
The play’s main message is that olderadults deserve respect and are capableof making tough decisions about theirfutures, such as whether to move into along-term care facility.
Formed in 2001, GeriActors is basedat the Seniors Association of GreaterEdmonton. The group includes olderadults and students from the Universityof Alberta and local high schools.
Members write and perform originalplays about attitudes toward agingand offer outreach theatre programs toseniors across the city.Communityconnections
Social activity benefits our health
WRITTEN BY DOUG HORNER
Janet Fast, a professor of humanecology at the U of A, studied GeriActorsfor a research project on health andcreative aging. She says the troupe’solder members feel they’re keeping theirminds active by learning and creatingstories. “They’re also making hugecontributions, not just to the youngpeople they’re working with, but to otherolder people.” The sense of belonging thegroup fosters is an essential attribute.
Research links social activity to health.
Spending time with others can preventloneliness and depression and helppeople weather changes to their health,income, living situation and social circle.
Fast says it doesn’t matter what people
do as long as they engage with other
people. “The main message that comes
from the research on social engagement
with older adults is that it needs to be
something that is meaningful to them.”
It’s simple: a rich social life comes
from satisfying activities that connect
people to people, whether it’s taking a
soapstone carving class, volunteering at
the food bank, hosting a radio show or
learning a new computer program at the
local library. “The number of alternatives
and opportunities that are evolving are
almost unlimited,” Fast says.
Here are just a few ways olderadults can connect with others in theircommunities. Visit seniors.alberta.cafor a full directory of the more than 300seniors centres across Alberta.
It’s simple: a richsocial life comes fromsatisfying activitiesthat connect people topeople
Two members of GeriActors & Friends perform on
stage in Edmonton.