A few weeks ago I was walking through Norwich city centre in the sunshine and spotted an elderly lady. Although she was using a stick and walked with a limp, she was managing quite well. I smiled at her. We naturally both stopped and began speaking. We chatted for 15 minutes and both agreed that it would be nice if people of alternate generations spent more time with each other, and at that point I offered to meet her for a coffee some time. Linda gave me her details and after speaking on the phone she invited me for coffee at her house.
When I saw this it reminded me of my nan (Captain). Only the elderly can make a cup of coffee so inviting and heart warming. Linda, who turns out to be 86 is a lady who loves poetry, photography and prays every day. She was a Barnardo’s child and her upbringing was heavily impacted by the second world war. She described leaving London with her Sister wearing gas masks.
I used to do voluntary work for Age UK and was part of their befriending service. I would visit care homes to chat and play games with the residents and it was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. There is so much value in volunteering, especially for the more vulnerable members of society. The stories you hear from the elderly are incredible, but don’t rely on what I tell you, find out for yourself.
During our chat Linda told me that she had visited an elderly blind lady in hospital who broke her hip recently. The lady is 90 and has gone completely blind over recent years. Linda told me how the lady always recognises her voice, so she sat at the hospital with her for a few hours and simply held her hand. Being kind is contagious and a good thing to spread, I hope we can all do that in a world that can sometimes be so cruel. Linda has a wonderful view of Norwich Cathedral, she has a stepping stool in place so she can enjoy its delights every day. I felt privileged to be invited to stand on the stool and admire the view.
I see Linda on a regular basis now and will occasionally inform you how our friendship is developing and benefitting each other. Until then, please consider the elderly in our community and any ways you might be able to help them. You might also be surprised that it ends up helping you!