Kitchener celebrates Seniors’ Month
June 2015 marks Senior’s Month, and in honour of this celebration, Revera and Reel Youth collaborated to create The Revera and Reel Youth Age is More Film Project, serves to combat ageism and challenge stereotypes between youth and seniors.
Revera is a Canadian company that seeks to provide exceptional accommodations for seniors, while Reel Youth is a project that encourages youth to create films that make a social impact. The project aims to portray the importance of interaction within all ages and establishing a relationship between youth and senior volunteers.
This year’s films were shown in Kitchener, Ont on June 5 to see past the barriers surrounding ageism.
In light of this project and Senior’s Month, The Ontarion interviewed two volunteers involved with the project – Paul, a senior whose story was being captured, and Owen, a teenager who decided to tell Paul’s story through film.
We spoke with Paul first, who participated by being interviewed by youth volunteers on camera.
D.S.: What do you believe was the goal of this project?
Paul: I believe that the beginning of the idea was to get the young people to express their views and share with older people, so that they would both understand each other’s desires and so on. Perhaps the young people would learn from the experiences of the older people.
D.S.: Did you take part in a film?
P: Yes I did.
D.S.: Tell me about the tragedy that you had experienced in the past.
P: Yes, I have lost my arm. A gentleman was out swimming in the lake and he got in trouble and I went out and was towing him back in and a gentleman drove up with his boat to pick us up and pushed the lever the wrong way and drove over us. It cut off my arm and just shaved the head of the other gentleman, but he wasn’t hurt at all. He ended up marrying the gentleman’s daughter [laughs].
D.S.: And how has this affected you?
P: Oh I think it’s made me much more stubborn. I had to learn how to do things, so I did.
D.S.: What was it like working with the youth for this project?
P: It was fantastic. They were so industrious and so busy and they worked so hard. They didn’t know an awful lot about what they were doing – they were learning it as they went along. They really worked hard on it – I was amazed at how hard they did work. They really applied themselves well.
D.S.: So you’d say that you got something out of it?
P: Oh yes, very much so. They were just so wonderful. The people we had, Sara and Owen, were just magnificent and enthusiastic and worked their butts off [laughs].
D.S: I realize that one of the goals with this project is to combat ageism. Do you think ageism is an ongoing problem right now?
P: I think it is a problem. An awful lot of people don’t really understand what the older people are going through, they assume because they can’t do everything that the other people can too. A lot of older people can’t do as many things, or not as quickly, as other people, but they get around to it eventually. I think it’s very nice for the young people to learn what the older people need, and also for the older people to understand what the young people need.
D.S.: Aside from this project, what other ways do you think society could help combat ageism?
P: I think if young people would come and volunteer in a retirement home, and that sort of thing, they would learn what the older people and what they can do for them and also what they can teach them, because the young people can still teach us a lot.
The Ontarion later spoke with Owen, who had the opportunity to be interview Paul in one of the films.
D.S.: How was your experience working with the film project?
Owen: It was a great experience for everybody I think. I learned so much about the people [involved] that nobody else would ever know, if it wasn’t for the students.
D.S.: Do you think that there’s a real problem with ageism?
O: I think that people think that there are stereotypes between young people and older people, and this is a great experience for them and for us to kind of break those barriers.
D.S.: How did you get involved in the project?
O: My English teacher actually introduced me to the idea. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it at first, but after I figured out what it’s all about, I accepted it, and it was really great.
D.S.: What was your favourite part about it?
O: I think hearing all of the funny stories that came out of it from the other people, and from the person that I interviewed. It was a lot of fun and we learned so much from them.
D.S.: Who did you interview?
O: I interviewed Paul.
D.S.: Did his story have an impact on you?
O: He really makes me respect people of an older age a lot more, because I didn’t know that his life [was] affected that way for so long.