Did you know?
For the first time ever, there are more seniors (over 65) in Canada than children 14 years and younger.
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. This day is designed a way to honour, respect, and care for the elderly. In fact, the 2018 theme for this special day is “Celebrating Older Human Rights Champions.”2
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.
Explain that you are going to arrange for a visit to an elderly or seniors’ residence. Today, students need to think of questions that they would like to ask these people when they get there.
Here are some starters:
Share the questions and ask students to write them down.
Set up interviews in a local seniors’ residence and have students work in pairs to interview a senior.
Following the experience, ask:
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 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: