With pandemic restrictions lifted, Hope for Dementia resumed its Intergenerational Learning Program in 2023. In the first phase in 2023, twelve student volunteers from the St-Laurent Secondary School – Émile Legault Pavilion, were paired with residents at Place St-Moritz Residence during the months of March and April.
The Intergenerational Learning Program (ILP) has the dual aim of raising awareness among teenagers about dementia and of reducing the risks of dementia in the senior population. The program bridges the gap between generations, breaks the social isolation experienced by seniors, while providing a mutually beneficial learning experience for both seniors and youth volunteers.
The students taught the residents how to use various applications on tablets and participated in craft projects. These activities help to reduce the risks of dementia among seniors, as they learn new skills, continue being mentally stimulated, and feel socially connected with their families and friends through digital media. Using their life experience, seniors teach the youth volunteers various skills and provide advice on aspects of daily living. This makes seniors feel valued as citizens actively contributing to the community.
The students dedicated more than 100 hours to the program. The volunteers and seniors provided positive feedback. Several youth volunteers said that they learned a lot from the seniors. Most participants wished that the project could be longer. Some students will continue to volunteer at Place St-Moritz during their summer vacation.
A second cohort of student volunteers will participate in the Intergenerational Learning Program at Demeures Sainte-Croix Residence in June. The program will continue in fall. Hope for Dementia intends to expand the number of schools and residences involved in this program.