NAmerind Friendship Centre, a First Nations Canadian organization
that serves aboriginal communities in London, Ontario, is partnering
with the Alzheimer Society of London and Middlesex, in order to
preserve precious memories of the past and foster the Native storytelling
tradition, the London Free Press reported. The Center is joining
the Generation Link a program that matches high school students
with seniors suffering from early Alzheimers disease.
The purpose is to increase the social
interaction between the senior and the student through discussing
favorite themes or parts of the seniors past, said Betsy
Little, executive director of the Alzheimer Society of London and
Middlesex. Students involved in the program will spend time with
Alzheimer patients and record their favorite memories. At the end
of the program, the teens present the memory books to their partners
during a special celebration.
The initiative is met with warmth by the
patients. According to Little, one of the patients was so excited
about the memory books that he decided to create one for his wife
and his children as well.
Anthony Isaac, a Generation Link volunteer
facilitator, told LFP: This is a crucial time in our era because
the risk of losing our traditions, our culture, the language. A
lot of this knowledge is being held with our elders and some of
them are scared to share it because of residential schools and the
fear that was instilled in passing on traditions and using the language.
Isaak hopes that the program will allow the elders to pass their
knowledge to the next generation.
Generation Links approach is much
different from way children are introduced to Alzheimers disease
in South Korea. According to the New York Times, South Korea is
at the forefront of the worldwide epidemic of dementia,
and in order to prepare the young generation for interacting with
their elderly relativesand possibly, for their own futurea
program called Aging-Friendly Comprehensive Experience Hall
was introduced. As a part of this rather dystopian program, children
had to play old. They put on weighted harnesses and
fogged-up glasses, and were asked to perform various household talks.
Unlike this South Korean initiative, the
Alzheimer Society of London and Middlesex and the NAmerind
Friendship Centre educate children not by making them feel old,
but by promoting a dialogue between generations and sharing the
The NAmerind Friendship Centre in
London is a non-profit organization committed to the promotion of
physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual well-being of Native
people and in particular, Urban Native People. They implement culturally
relevant programs that focus on education, recreational activities,
and leadership. According to their website, the Centers goal
is to increase awareness of Native heritage, establish resources
for community growth, and promote the development of urban aboriginal