Get advice from an Innisfil senior at the Elder Wisdom bench

A few seniors from Lakeside Retirement home will be sharing their words of wisdom with a younger generation Aug. 8.

The project is called Elder Wisdom and started a few years ago with Coleman Care Centres and Schlegel Villages seniors’ homes.

One of their stops in 2016 was in Barrie and the program continued this year, with Innisfil IdeaLAB and Library staff participating.

“We emailed them and asked about coming to Innisfil,” Innisfil IdeaLAB and Library strategic planning co-ordinator Dana Stott said. “They are bringing the bench and #ElderWisdom buttons, but it’s important to have local residents sharing the wisdom.”

The concept is a senior will sit on a green bench in front of the library while waiting for a stranger to take a seat beside them and start up a conversation.

“It’s a catalyst to get people talking and to fight ageism within the community,” Stott said. “It’s to highlight talents and wisdom and to show our elders they are valued and appreciated.”

It also creates an intergenerational conversation without the barriers, she added.

“There are a lot of questions about relationships and some about careers,” Stott said. “General life questions and queries.”

One of the ideas with the Elder Wisdom program is people assume seniors have all the answers.

“It’s more like if you’re a senior, you’ve had the wrong answer more times than not and you’ve learned from them,” she said. “That’s one of the ideas on the website that I thought was pretty clever.”

As the Elder Wisdom program has grown, the focus has also turned to technology, with guests using hashtag #ElderWisdom to share their experiences.

“There’s an initiative to get seniors comfortable with technology. This was the first year they had a Twitter panel and included technology as a learning piece.”

The Elder Wisdom program visits Innisfil Aug. 8 from 3 until 8 p.m. in front of the Lakeshore branch of the Innisfil IdeaLAB and Library,  All are welcome to participate by spending some time on the green bench. The event happens rain or shine.

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