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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

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 …

True Love and Dementia: Revisiting ‘The Notebook’

If you’ve sobbed through The Notebook, we’d probably be friends. It’s true. A quick Facebook search reveals that dozens of my friends — of different ages, genders, hometowns, etc. — have liked the page for the movie, now a good 10 years since its premiere. Although I haven’t clicked like on the fan page, I do like The Notebook. It’s hard to resist the love story of Noah and Allie (Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams), as told by an older …

In Thailand, Retirement Is Not Always a Choice

Pa’ Noi manages the neighborhood restaurant that my boyfriend, Joe, and I love here in Thailand, where I’m doing part of my master’s program in gerontology. When we arrive, she greets and seats us, and patiently waits as we, the farangs (Thai for “foreigners”), fumble through our orders. When we finish, she brings us our check and our change, and she inevitably beats the busboys to a first swipe at our table. Pa’ Noi is 71, and she’s great at …

Being There to Say the Final Goodbye

Two years ago this month, I sat beside my Pop Pop as he died. I can’t help but cry as I type that, but this isn’t a sad story. Pop Pop was 96 years old. He was born in 1916. By Sept. 13, 2012, the day he passed, he’d been my mom’s dad for almost exactly 60 years. He’d been my grandfather for 30. Running the numbers didn’t comfort me that day, though. It didn’t compute. My friend was taking …