The intergenerational memoir project is designed to help a senior volunteer work together with a student partner to produce a memoir for the senior to share with family and friends and pass down to future generations. Students are taking a course in Aging and Health at McMaster. Students and seniors both write short letters about themselves, and any hobbies or passions they may possess. The letters are then compared, and partners are assigned based on the most commonalities. Once partners are assigned, meetings are scheduled once a week over Zoom, for roughly 45 minutes to an hour.

My Student Experience with a Senior Partner

Last semester, I worked on the memoir project as a student partner. Out of the many opportunities I was given, the biggest one was the opportunity to learn and listen to my senior partner. My role as a student partner was to help my senior partner write their memoir, by editing any writing passed along to me or helping my partner to feel inspired to write. However, I quickly came to realize this intergenerational project entails much more – including a safe space between me and my partner to reflect on their many amazing life stories. As we got to know each other better, my partner began to share more stories with me, which led to many wonderful conversations and connections; we became friends! Had I not chosen to be a part of the memoir group, I would never have been given such an opportunity to learn through listening, nor would have I been exposed to an intergenerational relationship of this nature.

 Benefits for Senior Volunteers

In addition to building an intergenerational friendship, the memoir project really focuses on mutual support for both partners, allowing senior partners the chance to help younger generations through passing down their anecdotes of wisdom. At the end of each term, numerous seniors share their positive experiences, most commonly reporting they feel a sense of genuine honour to have the chance to be so influential upon their student partners.

Recruiting Senior Volunteers for September and for January

Wouldn’t you or a senior you know be interested in this intergenerational project?

For Further Information, see Invitation to Memoir Project and/or contact Ellen, [email protected]