Connecting while distancing this Intergenerational Day

Grandmother, mother and daughter sitting together, smiling

On June 1st Canadians celebrate Intergenerational Day (IG Day), and the power of intentional, respectful connection between older adults and children/youth.

As part of the movement to end elder abuse, IG Day is about coming together to prevent the mistreatment of older adults and build communities that are all-age friendly.

Officially recognized in 12 provinces and territories and more than 100 cities across Canada, there isn’t just one way to celebrate IG Day.

Spending time with seniors, in-person, is the best way to learn from one another, and typically we’d encourage it. But this year, with COVID-19 protocols in place, we’re encouraging folks to stay safe, stay distanced and reach out by phone, letter or through technologies like Zoom or FaceTime.

It’s important that we stay safe, healthy, and get vaccinated as soon as possible so that we can get back to enjoying each other’s company sooner than later.

Close personal connection is crucial to our wellbeing. In fact, isolation and loneliness are among the leading causes of poor health for older Canadians. Social isolation is also a major risk factor in elder abuse and neglect. For many seniors, this past year has been extremely difficult; the isolation has made them more vulnerable, especially those living in long-term care.

With its final report now released, Ontario’s Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission has put forth 85 key recommendations to overhaul and improve Ontario’s long-term care system. At OPSEU/SEFPO, we will continue to demand immediate and meaningful action from the provincial government; to take profit and politics out of the equation and bring in ethics. We encourage you to join.

We might not be able to gather in-person this year, but we must renew our commitment to fight for positive change. Our older loved ones deserve it.

So, on June 1st be sure to reach out; make that phone call and connect with the ones you love. If you want to go a step further, take action by reaching out to your MPP to let them know you support public, not-for-profit long-term care and join the fight for a better, all-age friendly Ontario.

In Solidarity,

Warren (Smokey) Thomas

Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida
OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer