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Sheridan Students Honoured for Ideas on Creative Aging

August 29, 2013

Winning ideas range from senior-friendly intramural sports to 'Share' days for seniors and young children

For Immediate Release: August 29, 2013
Oakville, Ontario

Sheridan College is pleased to announce the top three winners in its annual President’s Creative Challenge, a year-long initiative in which teams from every corner of the College proposed solutions to a complex societal issue.

The focus this year was on designing projects to help create more inclusive communities for all ages. “By 2016, for the first time in history, adults 65 and up will account for a larger share of the population than children,” explains Pat Spadafora, Chair of the Planning Committee and Director of the Sheridan Elder Research Centre. “To respond to that challenge we need to free ourselves from limiting beliefs about aging and embrace the reality that individuals continue to grow, learn and contribute to their communities throughout the life journey.”

Approximately 30 teams participated this year, involving more than 75 students and 15 mentors from 10 of Sheridan’s programs on three of its campuses. The winners are:
  • First place – Intramural sports league for senior citizens: By modifying the rules for basketball, soccer, badminton and bocce ball, the senior-friendly league promotes physical activity which reduces risk for chronic disease and fosters socialization to prevent isolation and cognitive decline. It also helps to build community by involving high school students who can offer skills training and by encouraging the participation of younger family members in grandparent-grandchild tournaments. Team members include: Fatime Sadeq, Edward Armas, Manuel Gonzalez, Darryl Ntow and Dillon Ramcharan.
  • Second place – Interactive software tutorial series for older adults: New technologies are rapidly changing the way we access information and how we communicate but they can often seem daunting to older generations and individuals with learning or visual impairments. These web-based tutorials progressively boost people’s confidence with tools such as Skype, web-based email, Microsoft Word, or Facebook, allowing them to practice in the comfort of their own environments and at their own pace. Team members include: Dilip Muthukrishnan, Matthew Brackenridge and Kshitij Bhatt.
  • Third place – “Share” days for seniors and young children: Bridging Sheridan’s strengths in both elder research and early childhood education, this project envisions a series of “Share” days that unite the young and old. Whether the groups share knowledge about their cultures, musical interests, pets or personal interests, interacting helps to foster healthy perspectives and meaningful relationships as well as enhance both social skills and intergenerational understanding. Team members include: Ann Lue-Brown, Poonam Rani Taheem, Mina Khulmi and Amarpreet Kaur.
The winning teams each received a cash award for their contributions. Administrators at Sheridan are now examining options for implementing the selected projects. “The most interesting ideas often develop where disciplines converge,” notes Dr. Jeff Zabudsky, President & CEO at Sheridan College. “By encouraging collaboration across programs and Faculties, we’re immersing students in the joy of learning and benefitting from the creative thinking that results. While society ultimately stands to benefit, so too do the students. The challenge helps them to hone 21st century skill sets such as critical reasoning, teamwork, and communication.”

The topic of creative aging is one that resonates deeply at Sheridan. For ten years, the Sheridan Elder Research Centre (SERC) has worked to identify, develop, test and implement innovative strategies that result from applied research conducted at Sheridan to improve the quality of life for older adults and their families. During this time, SERC has conducted over 60 research, evaluation and design projects, hired 46 Sheridan student research assistants, and presented at over 50 conferences. Its projects include: using technology to enhance cognition and support aging in place; examining how participation in the creative arts, such as writing fiction and the performing arts, such as dance, promotes healthy aging; and connecting business and industry leaders through a networking series to exchange resources and best practices.

Sheridan is one of Canada’s leading postsecondary institutions, offering over 100 diploma, certificate, and bachelor degree programs in an environment that fosters innovation and creativity. Its aim is to become Ontario’s first university exclusively dedicated to undergraduate professional education – one that will be based on applied learning. The model also focuses on meeting university accreditation requirements so that Sheridan graduates have more pathways to the continued learning that will underscore their personal, career, and industry success.

For more information or to arrange interview opportunities, please contact:

Christine Szustaczek

Director of Corporate Communications & External Relations, Sheridan College

Tel: 905-815-4169

Email: christine.szustaczek@sheridancollege.ca