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

Talking (and Listening) to People With Dementia

I talk with my friend Arthur twice a week, and each conversation starts the same way. “Hi Arthur, it’s Laura.” “Laura, dawling. Whe-ah are you?” “I’m in Ohio.” “You’re still the-ah?” It’s been almost 10 months since my boyfriend, Joe, and I left New York. “Yep, still here! Grad school is going really well, and it’s great to be close to family. It’s hard being far from friends, though. I wish we were tasting olives together right now.” >> Sign up …

Grandma Betty: Why ‘Cute’ Can’t Capture It

Let me first say I love what’s going on with Grandma Betty, the Indiana octogenarian turned Instagram star. When Betty was diagnosed with terminal cancer, her great-grandson Zach opened an account (@grandmabetty33) to chronicle her journey. More than 309,000 followers later, what started as a project for friends and family has turned into a worldwide sensation. I just love that the bond between a great-grandmother and her teenage great-grandson, more than 60 years her junior, has inspired an outpouring of …

The Power of Pause: Taking Time to Visit Seniors

I’ll admit it: I love a good to-do list. When I’ve got a lot on my plate, or even when I don’t, there’s something so satisfying about crossing things off as I go. But my latest project has been a lesson in letting go of the list. As part of my grad school assistantship, I’m administering cognitive tests to older adults at a care facility near campus. When my adviser, Kate, told me about it, I was excited to jump …

Why Oscar Nominee ‘Nebraska’ Has Already Won

I saw Nebraska over the holidays with my boyfriend and his mom and my mom. It was a rather odd double date, come to think of it, but this isn’t about that. The movie just got me to thinking. There’s an important message in Nebraska, particularly in the relationship between David (Will Forte) and his father Woody (Oscar contender Bruce Dern). When Woody says he won a million dollars and has to travel 800+ miles to collect the prize, his …

Meeting Older Adults Where They Are

The other day, one of Arthur’s former students commented on an interview we did months ago with Eileen Fuentes, founder of The SPEACH: I was lucky enough to be one of Arthur’s students at Hofstra in 72-73. In addition to basic Freshman English he taught a lecture course in the history of American Musical Theatre. I didn’t always agree with him but admired his passion for the subject… Please send him my warmest regards and thanks. I called Arthur immediately. “A …

Having My FaceTime With Arthur

I didn’t know what to expect from my long-distance friendship with Arthur – but it wasn’t this. It’s been three months since I moved from Brooklyn, N.Y., to small-town Ohio for grad school. It was tough telling friends I was leaving, especially Arthur, who had come to rely on my Friday visits. Several weeks before the move date, I called our social worker Sasha at DOROT to strategize about how to break the news. “When do you think I should …