Profile: Intergenerational Partnerships

Partnerships with schools and youth-based organizations ensure that youth are educated about dementia and equipped with knowledge and understanding at a young age. This helps to promote empathy and reduce stigma in younger generations.

Rundle College

Partnership highlights include:

  • Incorporating dementia education throughout their curriculum from grades K-12
  • Creating a ‘Dementia Friendly Schools’ checklist for other schools to use
  • Visiting and volunteering with seniors living at Wentworth Manor, forming intergenerational relationships, increasing social engagement and further reducing stigma associated with dementia

Rundle College has demonstrated leadership in creating intergenerational partnerships with The Brenda Strafford Foundation’s Wentworth Manor in the Calgary Westhills pilot community. Some highlights of intergenerational activities between Rundle College and Wentworth Manor include a ‘Seniors Tea’ at Rundle College, where students host  senior residents for an afternoon of refreshments, conversation and entertainment. Rundle College students also partner with the Wentworth Manor Therapeutic Recreation department to facilitate the renowned ‘Opening Minds Through Arts’ art therapy program, designed to promote meaningful interactions between senior participants and student facilitators, as well as provide an outlet for creative expression for those with dementia.

“Students are now very much aware when they see a symptom of dementia and how that person may be struggling. It’s empowering for them. They have a sense of knowing how to handle the situation, why it’s happening, what they can do about it and how to make the individual feel more comfortable.”

Teacher, Rundle College

Ecole Secondaire Foothills Composite High School / Alberta High School in Fine Arts

“By experiencing the simulation component of the training, and viewing a touching video of someone facing dementia, students got to translate their knowledge to ‘what’s next for me? How can I make a difference for those living with dementia?’ Some of the students shared that they have loved ones in their life experiencing dementia. This training gave them the ability to interact with those loved ones in a profound way. Just knowing, for instance, that a person with dementia will remember a positive interaction encouraged them that they are capable of making a difference. I was pleased to see that some of the students even volunteered to assist at the Memory Café, which was really encouraging. I was so grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Dementia Friendly Communities project in this intergenerational capacity.”

Jody Swift, Teacher, Ecole Secondaire Foothills Composite High School / Alberta High School in Fine Arts