Did you know?
The Canada Census 2016 told us that Ffor the first time ever, seniors (over 65) in Canada outnumbered children 14 years and younger. The 2021 Census shows that seniors over the age of 85 make up one of the country’s fastest growing demographics. This age group’s population is expected to triple over the next 25 years.
The contributions that older Canadian citizens have made to our country need to be recognized.
On December 14th, 1990, the United Nations General Assembly designated October 1st as the International Day of Older Persons.
Health, Citizenship, Art, Music, Language
Note: This may be a sensitive area for some students. Be aware of those who may have experienced loss or trauma during the pandemic.
Gather students and invite them to talk about how their family interactions have been affected by the circumstances around COVID-19. What steps did they take or hear about regarding how to protect older family members who might be more at risk?
Brainstorm things that the class could do to make our seniors happy during these difficult times. Select a few ideas and follow through. For example:
Gather students and ask:
Discuss the fact that because elderly people have been around for a long time, they have seen and done many things over the years. They are like human history books and they have so much to teach us.
Explain that today students are going to make cards to celebrate and honour elderly people. If they know someone who is elderly, they can make the card for him or her. If not, they can just make a happy card that lets older people know that they care.
Provide coloured paper, ribbons, stickers buttons, markers, etc.
You may need to print out the words “Happy Older Persons Day” for students to copy. Once completed, send home for delivery to a family member or friend. If some students don’t know an elderly person, drop off their cards in the local seniors’ home.
Share the information in the Introduction and ask students if they know anyone who is elderly. How old are they? Where do they live?
Ask students why they think the United Nations has made this special day to recognize older persons.
Discuss the idea that older people are like computers. They have many, many experiences that they can relate to others and they have a lot of knowledge that they can share.
Have students prepare interview questions they would like to ask elderly people.
Here are some starters:
Share the questions and ask students to write them down.
Arrange for the questions be conveyed to a local seniors’ residence. Include a cover letter that asks for volunteers to respond, and set a date for collecting the replies. If appropriate, invite a senior into the class to share their thoughts about the contributions older persons make to Canada.Following the experience, ask students:
Remind students that taking care of our elderly and being kind to them is not just a one-day activity. We need to remind them every day that they are important in our lives.
Share the information in the Introduction and ask:
Explain that people of all ages make important contributions to society. In fact, many older persons have been responsible for promoting human rights all over the world. Can they name any? What have they done?
Here are some examples: https://www.biographyonline.net/people/famous/human-rights.html
Explain that Canada has some significant human rights advocates as well.
Watch the following video about Viola Desmond, a Black Nova Scotian businesswoman who challenged racial segregation at a cinema in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, in 1946.
Discuss her story and ask students how they feel about what happened.
Invite students to work in pairs and select one of the Canadian human rights advocates listed below (or another if they wish). Have them prepare a brief report including the person’s name, date of birth/death, and their major contribution to the cause of human rights in Canada and the world.
Canadian Human Rights activists:
Share findings and close by asking the following:
Gather students and invite them to talk about their interactions with older relatives or seniors in their neighbourhood.
• How do you think senior citizens have contributed to our lives over the years?
• What changes do you think our older persons have experienced since they were your age?
• What might be some of the challenges for our older population living in today’s world? (health, housing, money, technology, etc.)
Explain that our seniors have contributed a lot of time, knowledge, and experience to our
world and it is our responsibility to show them how much they are appreciated.
Brainstorm things that the class could do to make our seniors feel valued today and always.
Select a few ideas and follow through. For example: