Volunteering

Laura Hahn writes about intergenerational friendship on her blog, Arthur & Bernie. Arthur is her friend. Bernie was her grandfather, Pop Pop. Laura's work has appeared in People, Good Housekeeping and more. Follow her on Twitter @arthurandbernie

9 Life Lessons From My 90-Year-OId Friend

I met Arthur six years ago, thanks to an online ad. A community-based nonprofit called DOROT — meaning “generations” in Hebrew — was looking for volunteers to visit older New Yorkers, many of whom couldn’t easily leave their homes. The commitment was once a week for an hour. Knowing how much my Pop Pop loved (and needed) company, I signed on. Little did I know that the decision would change my life. DOROT paired me with Arthur, and we hit …

Finding Age-Friendly Inspiration in Taiwan

As we pedaled along, it was as if we shared a bike path with the whole city. There were commuters carrying satchels and couples carting picnic baskets. There were cyclists in neon jerseys and families in single-file lines, the kids dinging bells as they passed. There were people on road bikes and folks on rentals; people on skates and others in wheelchairs. My boyfriend, Joe, and I were visiting Taiwan, a relatively quick flight from Thailand, where I’m finishing my …

Traveling Around the World in 2-D: A Granddaughter’s Project

In retirement, my grandfather, Pop Pop, traveled the world with my grandmother. They went to Greece, China, Peru, Portugal — you name it. They’d spent years running a small business and raising three kids, so retirement was their chance to get away and see it all. And for many years, they did, thanks to good health and a smart savings plan. But little did they know that life after 65 would last so long — an absolute blessing, but also …

Intergenerational Selfies With a Purpose

A selfie can’t change the world — or can it, just a little? That’s the hope behind two social media campaigns right now: Grantmakers in Aging’s #GenTogether and Age UK’s #NotByMySelfie. My heart did a dance when I spotted them on Twitter this month. They’re certainly not the first nonprofits to mobilize people via personal snaps, but they’re the first I’ve seen to honor intergenerational connection this way. They’re calling for friends, families, neighbors, coworkers and caregivers of all ages …

A Different Type of Long-Term Care, Resort-Style

I used to cringe when the staff at Pop Pop’s nursing home called him “Sweetie.” Bernie would have been fine. Mr. Covitch would have been better. Sweetie, to me, wasn’t a name you’d call a man who identified as a military officer, a business owner and a father of three. It was just too cute and too casual. So when I recently visited a long-term care resort in Thailand, I initially was struck by how the owner insisted on calling residents guests. Well, “care …

Away From Home for the Holidays

I looked out at the setting sun, and twisted the ring Pop Pop gave me, the one I always wear on my right hand. I forgot the candles. I cannot believe I forgot the candles. It was the first night of Hanukkah, and I had failed. I was without candles, matches and a menorah. But more importantly, I was without my family and friends. I felt fortunate to be traveling in Thailand, where I’m studying for the year (so very …