“As we delve deeper and deeper in to the course I see how the condition of a community is not just important for the elderly but for all people within the community. We know that in order to have a healthy community we need to have a strong sense of unity and cooperation within the community.” – Student
The Through Their Eyes project first came to 479 Carlton Street, a senior housing residence owned and managed by Niagara Regional Housing in St. Catharines, in 2015 for the second-ever installment of the project. Pauli Garnder, Associate Professor, Brock University and their team of students returned to the site in 2022 to re-evaluate the age-friendliness of the community.
Residents who were interested in learning about the project were invited to attend information sessions in the apartments. Eligible participants were over the age of 55, living in the apartments at 479 Carlton Street, able to go outside, and capable of understanding and answering questions from the students. After determining the residents’ eligibility, their contact information was matched with students from the class.
37 undergraduate students partnered with seniors from the residence to gain a better understanding of what makes an age-friendly community through the eyes of the city’s “experts”.
17 undergraduate students partnered with 6 seniors from the residence to gain a better understanding of what makes an age-friendly community through the eyes of the city’s “experts”.
Everyone Benefits and Learns from the Project!
At the end of each term, the teams of students and seniors, along with project coordinators, partners and public officials, gather for a community forum event to preview the preliminary findings of their research.
Since the last time the Through Their Eyes project came to Carlton Street, residents continue to be happy with its local amenities including onsite laundry service, beautiful outdoors spaces, activities promoting social participation, and the community garden.
Residents expressed an increased sense of respect and inclusion within their community and there appeared to be fewer complaints about theft or vandalism in the area.
Carlton St continues to do an excellent job informing residents about events happening in their building and locally within the neighbourhood, and continue to provide beneficial wellness programs for seniors.
Opportunities for Change
Transportation and the improvement of public spaces continue to be primary concerns for residents. Opportunities for change in these areas include adding a crosswalk and more bike lanes, fixing damaged walkways, improving access to accessible transit options and bus routes, adding more lighting to the parking lot, and installing a gate to improve access to the park.
Residents also expressed continued interest in building more social connections in and between the buildings at Carlton St.
The following videos highlight the preliminary findings gleaned from each student groups’ qualitative research gathered throughout the intergenerational project.
Summary of Findings: 2022
Summary of Findings: 2015
Student Reflection (2015)
Senior Reflection (2015)
Carlton Street Photo Gallery
At the end of the term, people felt proud of the work they accomplished and happy they were able to make new friends. Representatives from Niagara Regional Housing; Niagara Region Public Health, Niagara Connects, and Niagara Age-friendly Network attended the community forum event to learn about the project’s findings.