The Generations program runs on 250 volunteers who serve close to 300 elderly persons (our members) in the downtown Montreal area. The majority of these friendly visitors are McGill University students who generously volunteer their time and energy. The program is currently in its forty-sixth year serving the community.
To be a member of the Generations Program, a person must be at least 55 years old and live within our territory- Avenue Des Pins to the North and Rue Saint-Jacques to the South, Atwater to the West and Saint-Denis to the East. The majority of our members are referred to us through the public health care system, other members find out about us from their friends, neighbours, or family members. To become a member, a person must call us to set up an interview with Outreach Coordinator, who will then be able to assess their needs. All of our services are free. Volunteers are also interviewed by the Outreach Coordinator and then matched with a member. We aim to help seniors in four broad service areas; (1) Friendly Visits, where volunteers meet with seniors in their home; (2) Accompaniments, where volunteers assists members in getting two and from appointments (the support offered is both physical and emotional); (3) Friendly errands, where members have volunteers to run out to purchase items for housebound seniors; and (4) Technological & Internet Help, where volunteers meet with members to assist in navigating todays technology.
All of these services seek to decrease the sense of isolation and depression experienced by many inner city elderly and to help in preventing premature institutionalization. Furthermore, we aim to promote the kind of relationship between youth and seniors that nurtures a sense of awareness and responsibility toward the aged, and that offers a new perspective to the youth volunteers.