ICDP applied with older people

The pilot project in Cañasgordas, Colombia, proved successful in applying ICDP with older people.

A group of student volunteers from the "Corporación Nuevas Raíces" (“Corporation New Roots”) received training in an adapted version of ICDP so that they could apply it in relation to older people. Argenis Pelaez and Lina María Muñoz belong to this group of volunteers and they sent us their self-assessments from their work in this project.

ICDP Pilot Project with Older Adults; A Personal Evaluation

by Argenis Peláez

In 2016, in response to the transformation that is occurring in the population structure of Colombia, which did not escape the municipality of Cañasgordas and in which there is a decrease in the child and adolescent population and an increase in the number of older people, Corporación Nuevas Raíces, with the support of the ICDP facilitator Abel Salazar, considered it pertinent to carry out an ICDP Pilot Project aimed at 30 adolescents (10th and 11th grade students) to enable their relationship with older adults in their family and in the outer environment.

The implementation of the programme was based on an adaptation of the Eight ICDP Guidelines, which were developed in 8 sessions; through a playful and participatory methodology, ICDP objectives, principles and methods were oriented to the interaction of adolescents with the older person. The process of ICDP delivery involved multiple encounters in which different activities were carried out, as follows:

1. Meetings with our facilitator to raise awareness about the programme and the presentation of ICDP guidelines.
2. Meetings for self and group reflection, led by the facilitator.
3. Team meetings for the planning of activities and development of materials for meetings with older people.
4. Workshops with students to discuss the adapted guidelines.
5. Final training meeting.
6. Eight meetings of students with older people.

ICDP was an opportunity to reflect on my relationship with myself and with others, as it allowed me to identify my strengths and my weaknesses in communication and interaction with other people.
I have acquired sufficient tools to improve on my weaknesses in order to achieve greater empathy by applying the 3 dialogues of the ICDP programme. I found myself better at expressing affection to the people around me. The programme allowed me to make a self-assessment about my role as caregiver of an older adult; I was able to take actions to facilitate good intergenerational dialogue, based on the needs of the older person I was working with. This proved gratifying for both of us

I recognize ICDP as a valid methodology to improve interpersonal relationships, independent of the age group. I obtained elements that allowed me to strengthen myself in planning and carrying out educational activities and as the ICDP facilitator.

Finding and being part of a group of people sensitive to the situation of children and older adults, and whose action were projected towards the development and in favour of these two groups, inspired me to continue working on it as my life mission. The ICDP programme is a proposal applicable to any person and in any situation. I feel that adopting the ICDP programme as a way of life could bring about positive changes in the way people relate and contribute to the peace of families and communities.

What did this experience in ICDP mean to me?

by Lina María Muñoz

The experience of participating in the ICDP programme made changes in my personal, family and work life. I feel blessed that life put people like the ICDP trainer Abel in my path. This is because ICDP gave me the opportunity to make the lives of children, young people and older adults more magical through expressions of feelings, emotions, values and much love.
I have and will put my soul in this project because I feel so strongly about it.
It is wonderful to know that I can help and contribute to a better future based on principles and values. Each training made me better person, better mom, better leader. Each ICDP dialogue, principle of awareness, each guideline made a valuable contribution to my learning. The process with young people and the elderly, thanks to their disposition, made this project possible. It was very gratifying to be a participant in this magnificent project which allowed me to acquire knowledge that I can replicate and practice in my daily life.
Thank you for this opportunity.


Comments from Aleida Ospina Garcés, who was trained by ICDP as students' supervisor:

I found the ICDP work intensive at times but really wonderful, we learned and internalized ICDP knowledge that was afterwards delivered to thirty young people.
These students showed a great deal of optimism and desire to learn, to know, to experience, to look a little beyond what they have, to explore their environment. They tried out ICDP guidelines with children, young people, adults, father and mother. I still feel overwhelmed by all the experiences shared by these young people, of their dedication, their ability to reflect and engage in sincere self-perception, their willingness to work on problems encountered in their lives. They showed enthusiasm and in all our meetings they were able to contribute and strengthen the ICDP work for the benefit of all involved.

In their work with older adults (older adults being the participants of ICDP meetings conducted by the students), the students managed to establish a relationship of mutual trust, nurturing an open dialogue, where opinions were freely expressed. The students created an atmosphere of appreciation, confidence, security, and as a result great initiatives arose in the participants who were listened to with respect. The students showed appreciation for the qualities they perceived in the participants, they sought the slightest opportunity to highlight some positive aspect and this created a sensitive and warm atmosphere.

The participants managed to revive and relive some of their memories through paintings and many discovered that they had talent and skills to express their own experiences in this way. Each participant told their story, and all had opportunity to talk about their lives. A nice and meaningful communication was established, leading to a more human and sensitive relationship between the young and the elderly.

A personal note: ICDP contributed to a great extent to improve my own home environment, and as I internalized each of the ICDP guidelines in a very personal way, I became convinced of the importance of the program. This nice program does not work in exceptional situations, but manifests in daily life, with the people around us, to strengthen the confidence, the performance, and the capacity of each one.