Grandbuddies by Carly, Grade 6

June 2017

I loved participating in the Grandbuddy program. Once a month, we walked down to the Views, and met up with our Grandbuddy. Mine is named Norma, she is a very positive, happy person! On our walk down you can tell that everyone is super excited to see their buddy, hustling so that that we can get there as fast as possible and chatting about how excited they are to see them after a whole month, and how they cannot wait to taste the delicious cookies once again!

The first session in October was one to remember! When I first met Norma she was a little shy, but after five inutes of talking, we were laughing and talking like we had known each other for years! It is such a cool relationship to have with someone. It is like they are not your grandparent, they are not your BFF, they are your Grandbuddy , and it is amazing.

My favorite activity that we did, was the coloring contest, Norma and I worked super hard, and even though we didn’t win, we were proud of our work! My second favorite activity was the Halloween parade! The costume contest, and the conga line were super fun!

I would like to thank Brenda, for creating this program and making this possible. Our teacher for dealing with all of the chatter on the way to the Views, and back. All of the staff and volunteers, for organizing the snacks, and helping us to find our Grandbuddy at the beginning of each session. And Norma, for being the best Grandbuddy I could have asked for!

I am so glad that my classmates and I had this surreal experience! Thank you so much!

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The First Visit

There are many feelings around the first visit when two generations come together for the first time. There is a combination of excitement and nervousness as this relationship begins. When a senior and a child are first introduced to each other there is a mixture of emotion, yet there is an easiness and spontaneity much like how two children are first introduced on the playground. With no inhibitions or expectations friendships begin almost instantaneously. The questionnaire included in the workbook is an interactive tool to get to know one another. Both generations learn what they may have in common and what their differences are.  The beginning of friendships are memorable. A positive first experience can lay the foundation of a relationship that can continue to grow over the course of time.

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Student Workbook now available for sale!

Student Workbook for Sale!

 

 

 

This workbook includes easy to use activity worksheets that both seniors and students can share together that greatly enhances the relationship between these two generations. The activities are designed to be photocopied for either the classroom or residential care home setting. The activities are designed to enable both generations to learn from one another and to discover each other’s life experiences.

If you would like to order your copy please email: grandbuddyprogram@shaw.ca or visit http://www.grandbuddy.ca

 

 

 

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About

An Intergenerational Program for Intermediate Elementary Grades And Seniors Residing in Long Term Care “The best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person”….Andy …

Source: About

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What is a Grandbuddy Program?

WHAT IS A GRANDBUDDY PROGRAM?

“When the old are not allowed to tell their story, the young grow up without history. If the young are not listened to, we have no future.”

Dr. Gunhild O. Hagestad

A Grandbuddy Program initiated by a long term care facility and an elementary school can create golden moments two generations. When a student and an older adult first realize that the other person, once a total stranger, is now important to them the relationship then starts to “matter”. The building of relationships do not just happen when two people are just put together. They require careful planning, time over the course of at least ten months of interaction and an understanding of one another. Residential patterns, activities and institutions such as schools and long term care facilities for the elderly lead to further segregation. Stereotypes flourish under conditions of inadequate contact and knowledge reinforced through the segregation of youth and elderly.

The goal of the Grandbuddy Program is not only for the students and older adult to learn from one another but through shared experiences and regular contact attitudes are changed. This holds true for influencing students’ attitudes toward “old people” living in a long term care.

The Grandbuddy Program involves intergenerational activities that promote cooperation, learning, and positive exchanges and interactions between two generations. The program purposely brings youth and seniors together to achieve specific program goals. Continue reading

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Introduction to the Grandbuddy Program for parents

The following letter is a template available for students, teachers and parents. This can be distributed at the beginning of the school year.

Welcome

 

To Students and Parents,

 

<Name of School> will be working with <Name of Long Term Care Facility) to participate in the Grandbuddy Program. The purpose of the program is to foster relationships and understanding between the generations, and to nurture self-esteem for both the students and seniors. Goals from the school curriculum will also make each visit a learning experience for both generations.

 

The students will learn about aging, and the losses and disabilities associated with it. They will explore the “histories” of their senior Grandbuddy and compare childhoods with them. The students will learn to speak loudly, clearly and respectfully, and to listen attentively. The seniors will look forward to the Grandbuddy visits – especially those who do not have any grandchildren in the local area.

 

Throughout the program we ask that some rules be followed. These include:

 

  • Wear nametags
  • Using the hand-sanitizer before and after each visit
  • Wipe wet feet dry before entering the building
  • Ask permission from staff or teacher to visit their Grandbuddy in private rooms
  • Put away chairs after useWe would also welcome any parents who wish to volunteer at the monthly visits. Please contact the teacher or the facilitator if you are willing to volunteer or have any questions regarding the program.Contact:<Long Term Care Facilitator Contact Information>
  • <Teacher Contact Information>
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My Classroom

I read a quote the other day that said “the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.” This resonated with me as I feel I learn many valuable lessons in my day to day work. Of course there are many challenges in working with seniors especially in a dementia care environment but it helps me to appreciate my health. It allows me to keep my sense of humour and that I can’t let the little things bother me. As I see an elderly person struggle to remember where to go and what to do, they are trying to make sense of their world. They are coping with the immediate present. They are asking themselves “What do I do now?” or more commonly ask “can you please help me?” At the end of the day I feel gratitude for being able to walk, to ride my bicycle, to read a book, to cook a meal, to be outside, to be able to talk with my friends and family…..and the list is endless.
What are you grateful for? I urge you to imagine my classroom. It may seem a little depressing to you but to me it is a environment where I can feel empathy and compassion. It is a place where I can learn and feel gratitude for life’s small blessings.

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