How a little #ElderWisdom and a green bench will tackle ageism in Ontario
'Knowledge only becomes wisdom with personal experience,' says Ron Schlegel
Follow your love. Don't dwell on the negative. Be yourself.
If you were to ask 94-year-old George Calder for some life advice, that's more or less what he'd tell you.
And if you ask for a book recommendation, he'd tell you Development of Jet Engines was a pretty good read.
"I was in the air force and I always loved flying, and I used to fly after the war, too. That's occupied a lot of my attention, I suppose," he said with a laugh.
Calder is one of dozens of people from Schlegel Villages long-term care homes taking part in the #ElderWisdom project, a social awareness campaign that shines a light on the way older adults and seniors contribute to their communities.
They'll sit on a little green bench that is taking a tour of Ontario this month through 15 Ontario cities — including London, Toronto, Guelph, Waterloo and Windsor — and take turns sharing their knowledge with the hope of chipping away at ageism.
'None of us want to get older'
The Wisdom of the Elder project comes from the mind of Ron Schlegel, a professor, philanthropist and community leader in Waterloo region whose family runs more than a dozen "villages" across southwestern Ontario. The villages are set up with home areas for residents, with neighbourhoods, main streets and town squares to give a sense of community to the people living there.
"Ron Schlegel says, 'We gain knowledge from books, but knowledge only becomes wisdom with personal experience.
"One of the most hidden treasures in society is this accumulated wisdom. If we only stop long enough to listen to the stories of our residents, we have much to gain from them,'" quoted Ted Mahy, the online engagement manager for the #ElderWisdom project.
The bench makes the following stops through Ontario, through to the end of June:
- Toronto Trinity Bellwoods Park on Friday, June 15.
- Burlington City Hall on Monday, June 18.
- Waterloo City Hall on Wednesday, June 20.
- Windsor Dieppe Gardens on Friday, June 22.
- Twitter Party Hosted by @SchlegelVillage 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 26.
- Barrie Heritage Park on Wednesday, June 27.
- Kitchener City Hall on Friday, June 29.
- St. Jacobs St. Jacobs Farmers' Market on Saturday, June 30.