FREDERICTON (GNB) –The following statement was issued today by Social Development Minister Bruce Fitch to highlight Intergenerational Day Canada:

New Brunswick and other provinces and territories will celebrate Intergenerational Day Canada on June 1. This day encourages seniors and young people to come together to break down isolation and reduce loneliness. This is particularly appropriate now because we know that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many people into isolation and it can be a difficult and lonely time.

Intergenerational relationships promote the sharing of knowledge, culture and history and also foster respect and empathy.

Intergenerational Day Canada was started in 2009 by a teacher in British Columbia who was working with students on a world elder abuse prevention and awareness project. The idea of bringing younger and older people together grew from there. Now more than 100 cities and 12 provinces and territories observe the day.

I invite New Brunswickers to take the time to reach out today to a senior or to someone living alone. Even during a pandemic, we can still do our part. A simple gesture can go a long way: for example, making a phone call or even a Zoom or Skype call can be a way of combatting loneliness and neglect.

Other options for intergenerational activities can also include: cards sent with prescription and food deliveries, online sharing of songs and games, window visits with painted hand prints on the glass, drive-by parades, musical presentations on the lawn, sharing through Facebook pages, sharing of drawings, having young people build birdhouses or fundraising to buy and place bird feeders near the windows of seniors.

Everyone should continue to follow public health guidelines while taking part in Intergenerational Day, even those who have received one or both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. Wear a mask, wash your hands and keep practising physical distancing.

I thank all the organizations, groups and New Brunswickers who will take the time to make Intergenerational Day Canada a success and show everyone how caring and compassionate we are despite the COVID-19 pandemic.