I founded For All Ages earlier this year after my dad passed away. His last few years were very lonely due to his friends passing before him. He could have shared his lifetime of experience if only he had had the opportunity. My goal is to combat loneliness and isolation - and change the dialogue on aging - by connecting the generations through unique programs.
Loneliness and isolation which are key social determinants of health, negatively impacting the health and well-being of people of all ages. Further, studies have identified having negative thoughts about our own aging as a risk factor for cognitive disorders as we age. Separate research indicates that older adults with positive perceptions of aging live on average 7.5 years longer.
The Chairs For All Ages program is a multi-week program connecting older adults with high school students to build, design, and paint Adirondack-style chairs. During the first phase, older adults with carpentry experience work with Technical Education students to design and build Adirondack chairs. During the second phase, older adults with artistic painting experience work with high school art students to develop and design and paint the chairs.
Through this intergenerational program, older adults are mentoring youth in non-traditional subjects - woodworking/carpentry and art. The adults have a wonderful opportunity to have a purpose and the youth get to learn from experienced adults and get to observe that aging can happen with vitality and happiness. This dual benefit changes perceptions of both the older adults and youth simultaneously.
Pairs of chairs will be placed throughout the community to encourage people of all ages to get outside, explore the community, and engage with one another in a relaxing environment.
This program is currently in the build phase and will be entering the painting phase in 2020 with the chairs ready to be placed in the community in May, 2020.
Funded by Awesome Without Borders (February 2020)