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Creating Inclusive Neighbourhoods for All Ages

If you represent an organization that offers inter/multigenerational programming, I want to hear from you!

During the late summer of 2019, as part of a federally funded project to reduce social isolation among older adults, the Hamilton Council on Aging launched a project called Do You Know Your Neighbour (DYKYN)? The project included face-to-face inter/multigenerational events as well as an online DYKYN neighbourhood group in Facebook (check us out on Facebook!).

Fast forward to the summer of 2020. We had planned to expand the project this summer and fall through additional face-to-face conversation cafes. However, as every reader knows, a global pandemic was declared and the world pressed pause. The uncharted waters we are navigating means we will continue the project in a virtual environment for the time being. We believe that the impact of the pandemic has made it even more critical to find ways to encourage social inclusion and to bring generations together.

In fact, the experiences of the pandemic have truly brought this need into focus, especially for older adults who, even prior to the pandemic, experienced loneliness and social isolation at a disproportionately high rate. Research evidence shows that bringing generations together mitigates against ageism and can reduce social isolation.

Until we can meet in person, our goal is to build a virtual community of younger and older persons in Hamilton, Ontario, with the objectives of expanding social networks, seeking ways to be a ‘good’ neighbour, increasing civic engagement and creating a framework for a reciprocal mentorship program.

Now, this is where you come in! One of our first actions is to learn from organizations around the world that offer inter/multigenerational programs. If this is you, I have three questions!

i. As it relates to inter/multigenerational programs, in what ways have you modified your programs during the pandemic? Are there changes that improved your programs and that you would like to keep? Please tell me about them.

ii. What inter/multigenerational practices and/or programs were lost during the pandemic that you would like to introduce back into your programs? Recognizing the changes that may have occurred during this time, what needs to be in place for you to be able to get those elements back?

iii. The importance of access to enabling technology has been reinforced during the last few months. How did you use technology in your programs? Barriers? Successes?

I love to learn from the creative and innovative work of others! Please share your insights by emailing me at

Many thanks in advance for your support and wisdom. I can’t wait to hear from you!


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