A close up of a flower

Befriending older people

June 23, 2015

When I was a little younger than Roo is now we moved house temporarily due to a house fire. We didn’t move far in fact just up the road from our house. That winter is snowed quite heavily and one of our new neighbours was a sweet little old lady who never seemed to have any visitors that came to her house. Over that winter we formed an unlikely friendship that I still remember to this day.

I would go round in a morning and clear the snow from her path so that she could safely get out. I’d also clear a pathway at the back of her house as she still had and used the outside toilet which I can remember finding fascinating. Along with my Mam we would bake pies and treats to take round for her to enjoy. With my younger brother born just before Christmas that year she would chat with my Mam about the of terry nappies instead of disposable nappies as my Mam hung them out on the washing line to dry.

Visiting this sweet little old lady made me think about others and how we all need to help each other. In many ways it has led me to the role I do within my day job. I love to go and sit with our patients on our small Community Hospital ward, we chat about their life, their family and their experiences. With a selection of jigsaws, board games and cards the afternoons can slip by before you know it and it’s time to stop for a cup of tea and cake.

A person standing in front of a brick building

I’m pleased to see that the schools my children attend also understand the value in befriending older people with regular trips to a local sheltered housing centre where the children chat, play games and entertain the residents. During Harvest Festival, Christmas and Easter the residents are invited over to the schools to interact with the children and watch them perform in plays etc.

It just goes to show that by reaching out to an older person in your community how much you can brighten not only their life but your own too.

Disclosure: This post is in collaboration with Sunrise who are championing a campaign to end loneliness

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