Simple Service: Golden Friends

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We have a golden friend that my kids and I adore, and she love us as well. We’ve talked about being friendly with senior citizens before. See here, here or here if you want to see other Simple Service posts about it. Not only online, but in practice we have an entire weekly program, Happy Helpers, during the school year that encourages little kids to mingle with seniors. See our calendar as the school year approaches for fun, new Happy Helpers planned for this fall. So this topic isn’t new. However, I wanted to add a new angle by talking about a true, lasting friendship with someone of an older generation. Our golden friend has become a real presence in my kids’ lives and it means the world to us.

How did we find a golden friend? She moved into our church congregation about the same time we did and as we struck up a pleasant conversation I realized that we lived quite close to each other. She admitted to wanting to get out of the assisted living facility sometimes (she and her husband are there primarily because of his health problems) so I offered to pick her up for outings. After a few times picking her up, my kids now ask if we can take her with us whenever an adventure is mentioned.

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If you don’t know anyone already, take a walk around your neighborhood and see if anyone older is out watering their yard or sitting on their porch. Rachel and her daughters talked about dropping off cookies to elderly neighbors recently; what a great idea and a great way to find golden friends! You can also stop by an assisted living facility and ask the receptionist if there’s anyone there that would appreciate a visit. When I have done that in the past, the receptionists have all known the residents well enough to match us with someone. I would imagine that if your initial visit went well, you could ask to visit again and form a friendship that way.

What do we do together? We go on “adventures.” We’ve gone to Hendricks Park when it’s bursting with rhododendrons and we’ve been to the Owen Rose Garden when it’s a myriad of colorful roses. We’ve also picked up our friend when on our way walking to parks. It’s lovely spending a morning chatting with someone of another generation on a park bench while watching my kids play; inevitably we talk about raising kids and changing times and I always end up feeling refreshed that moms throughout time are not that different.

My daughter wanted to share her golden friend with her young friends so we even walked by with some young friends one day and dropped off flowers the kids had picked from our yard. We sure brightened peoples' days as we traversed the halls of her assisted living facility, and these cute young kids sure got a lot of positive attention!

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It needn’t be elaborate; simply visiting someone regularly will build a lasting friendship. In fact, I hope the biggest take-away from this post is that having a golden friend can be very easy as far as time and resources but can leave a lasting impression for all. I know our friend really appreciates getting out of the assisted living facility she resides in and loves seeing my kids but the benefits are mutual. It has been so beneficial to my girls and they genuinely love our golden friend.