Too often, elderly residents of long-term care facilities and retirement homes are lonely and forgotten, says Karen De Santis.
A retired elementary schoolteacher and a sessional advisor to students in the Faculty of Education, she has published a book she hopes will foster intergenerational connections.
“For 15 years, the students in my care were involved in a Grandpal Program,” De Santis says. “We wrote letters to the elderly at a long-term care facility and then visited them on a monthly basis. Friendships were made, bonds were formed, and everyone benefited.”
The experience inspired her to write Tony’s New Friend, which tells the story of a young boy who befriends a neighbour in a nursing home. She hopes her book will find a place in schools, with parents and educators, and anyone who cares about the older segment of the population.
“There are so many elderly people in this world that need companionship,” says De Santis. “It doesn’t matter how old the participants are. We need more people to get involved so that there’s a little less loneliness in our world, one visit at a time.”
To purchase Tony’s New Friend in electronic, paperback, or hardcover editions, visit the publisher’s website.