Linkage Guidelines Launched

  • David Carter
Senior Citizens

Minister for Senior Citizens Hon David Carter will today launch the LinkAge Guidelines; a new handbook which sets out how older people can be involved in activities and programmes in schools.

Mr Carter will launch the LinkAge Guidelines with Education Minister Hon Dr Nick Smith at the Beehive this afternoon to an audience of schoolchildren, teachers and representatives from older person's organisations from throughout the Wellington region.

The launch of these guidelines is the main national event this month to mark the second key theme of International Year of Older Persons, which is Valuing the relationships between young and old.

"Positive ageing will occur not just when older people have good experiences of their ageing, but when we can also change our younger generation's attitudes and expectations of ageing and older people," says Mr Carter.

The LinkAge guidelines have been produced by the Department of Social Welfare's Senior Citizens Unit following requests from schools on how to set up and maintain programmes involving older people.

"We want to assist schools to recognise the value of using older people in their classrooms, and this handbook offers practical help for schools wanting to set up intergenerational programmes," says Mr Carter.

Examples of successful intergenerational programmes already running, given in the handbook, include Wainuiomata's Parkway College whose "Tu Tangata" programme sees older people working alongside students as mentors, providing individual support and assistance.

Hillcrest High School in Hamilton runs several classes focusing on the experiences of older people, and Ngaruwahia High School uses older volunteers to run its Truancy Prevention Programme.

"More and more, older people want to contribute to the well-being of young New Zealanders and schools provide one of the best environments for this to occur."

"If the LinkAge Guidelines can help involve older people in our schools, then that has to be a good thing."

"Geographic spread and the increased mobility of families today means many young people are growing up without contact with their grandparents, and their interactions with older people are becoming increasingly limited."

"Over time the LinkAge Guidelines may help to overcome that situation, by encouraging interactions in our schools between young and old," says Mr Carter.

The LinkAge handbook will be distributed by the Senior Citizens Unit to all 2,800 primary and secondary schools throughout the country and to all key older person's organisations before the end of this month.