“In old age they will still bear fruit” (Ps 92:15).
Pope Francis has said that ‘Many people are afraid of old age. They consider it a sort of disease with which any contact is best avoided. The elderly, they think, are none of their concern and should be set apart, perhaps in homes or places where they can be cared for, lest we have to deal with their problems. This is the mindset of the “throw-away culture”, which leads us to think that we are somehow different from the poor and vulnerable in our midst, untouched by their frailties and separated from “them” and their troubles. The Scriptures see things differently. A long life – so the Bible teaches – is a blessing, and the elderly are not outcasts to be shunned but living signs of the goodness of God who bestows life in abundance.’
Pope Francis urges us to seek out those elderly persons who feel most alone, at home or in residences where they live. “Expecting a visit can transform those days when we think we have nothing to look forward to; from an initial encounter, a new friendship can emerge.”
Intergenerational linking between schools and Care Homes can be transformative and we have seen this in many of the schools which participated in our first intergenerational linking project in 2021-22. It can create new friendships and have a positive impact on both residents and pupils. We have created a short guide for schools based on the learning from this project.
The message of Pope Francis for the third day for Grandparents and the Elderly on 23 July 2023 is here.
Caritas Plymouth is keen to support schools to develop intergenerational links with local Care Homes or Sheltered Living facilities. We have a range of materials for schools including lesson plans, introductory letters to Care Homes and letters to parents. If you would like a starter pack of materials please email email@example.com
We are also able to offer some funds to catholic parishes and catholic or joint catholic/church of England schools in the Diocese of Plymouth wishing to start an intergenerational link. Applications for funding is now open. You can apply here or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Other online resources for schools and parishes:
- Caritas Intergenerational Linking Brochure
- Prayer Resources Prayers for Grandparents and the Elderly – Catholic Bishops’ Conference (cbcew.org.uk)
- Pope Francis’ Message for World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly 2023
- Resources for Online Linking My Home Life England | Remote Intergenerational Linking
- Case Study Sun Catcher’s Care Home Friends and Neighbours (PDF, opens in new window)
- Case Study St Joseph’s Poole (PDF, opens in new window)