ELDERS IN THE MAKING
An Elder is Someone Who Made the Decision to Become one
In 2016, the Shuswap Settlement Services Society contracted retired educator Dr. Jerre Paquette, a member of the South Shuswap Health Services Society (SSHSS) to initiate and complete a research project entitled Raising Community Awareness of Exploitation and Abuse of Seniors.
Shortly after the completion of that project Dr. Paquette viewed a cultural/historical documentary film entitled Elder in the Making. It changed his understanding of how best to serve the needs of not only those senior citizens in need of support, but all those who would one day become seniors—everyone who survives youth and middle age.
As Chris Hsuing, the film’s director, came to realize [roughly paraphrased], “…the joy and the hope for the future..can be found in Elders reviving their culture…” (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/elder-in-the-making-a-treaty-7-roadtrip-doc#/).
Elder in the Making convinced Jerre that to improve the life of seniors now and in the future, the present community must help our youth take the journey of becoming elders. That is, the community as a whole must adopt the responsibility itself to make elders, not just hope it happens.
To do that, we must help our youth take the journey of becoming elders. Only in that way can we meet our responsibility to our communities and for our future generations.
That is, we must look upon our youth as “elders in the Making.”
What does that mean, and how can we, youth and seniors combined, achieve it?
Answering that question is the intended achievement of the present project, Elders in the Making.”
COMMUNITY FORUM RECOMMENDATIONS
The concluding activity for the research program on elder abuse was a forum of community seniors who listened to the research findings and presented a consensus of recommendations for further research and action. It is of special note that the first three of 11 recommendations did not focus on abuse—matters of life style, sense of community, and purpose were clearly of considerable value:
- Get together more often for laughter and discussion, focus on solutions, stop playing the blame game
- Talk to the community, educate, inform, share seniors’ achievements
- Establish a seniors’ broadcast on CKVS with senior broadcasters