Old people get a buzz out of visits
to keep them company or a doctor’s appointment to get them out of the house.
‘‘It’s the nice things like going out for coffee or playing a game of Scrabble with a friend that do more for them than they would for you and me.
‘‘Connecting generations helps to break down social stigmas that both sides think about each other,’’ she says.
‘‘Young people might view the elderly as being past their bestby date, while older people could view children as hooligans. But older people have so much to offer. They’ve got great stories to tell and have a lot to teach.’’
Connecting with strangers isn’t easy though. Work pressures and family commitments all contribute to households keeping to their own.
But a simple ‘‘hello’’ at the letterbox or offering to mow their lawns could be all it takes to remind your older neighbour that they’re not alone.
Neighbourly is a great way for older people to find likeminded people and connect with their communities, too.
If there’s one thing that I learned when my son and I got home later that day, it’s this: Despite the hassle of finding affordable flowers on Valentine’s Day, the tantrums we endured that morning, and the stress of preventing a small human from ransacking multiple strangers’ rooms, the smiles on the faces of the elderly women who gratefully received a flower were absolutely priceless.
For more information about how to become an Age Concern visitor or to apply for regular visitation, visit ageconcern.org.nz.
Old people have plenty to offer and amazing stories to tell – just take the time to get to know them.