Age-gap friendships can be a great way to see a different perspective of the world, with the younger member sharing their knowledge of iPhones and the Kardashians and the older member telling tales of the swinging sixties and ration books.
Lockdown was a particularly hard time when it came to people’s mental health, but this pair made the best of it and struck up a fulfilling and happy friendship as a result.
24-year-old hairdresser, Tayla Wright, was lonely after being furloughed from her hairdressing job, and decided to volunteer at her local hospital, where she met 94-year-old former accountant Ken Smith.
They’ve since become close pals despite their age gap, and now have long chats over the phone and weekly visits.
Ken was missing his family, who were banned from visiting his hospital due to coronavirus pandemic, and although he had a mobile phone he couldn’t use it very well.
That was when Tayla started volunteering at Northamptonshire Hospital – they’ve since filled their lockdown days with long chats about their lives, with Ken sharing 94 years worth of stories.
And after lockdown ended the pair kept up their unusual friendship – with Tayla popping round to Ken’s house for tea and cake every week, as well as having weekly natters on the phone.
Tayla, from Duston, Northants, said: ‘The main reason I wanted to volunteer on an elderly unit was because I find older people so interesting to talk to – Ken had so many unique stories to tell that people of my age wouldn’t be able to.
‘We talk about everything – our lives, families, jobs and I love listening to him and finding out about how things worked in his day.
‘We bonded straight away – we just clicked which is strange because I spoke to a lot of people whilst volunteering and Ken was the main person I clicked with.
‘I loved listening to his stories about the war and his past jobs.’
Ken’s daughter, Kay Roberts, 63, thanked Tayla for taking the time to go and visit her father.
She said: ‘We were so grateful to her – it was a lifeline for us in terms of his mental wellbeing.
‘She kept his spirits up and spent an awful lot of time with him – for her to want to continue to see him and visit is marvellous.
‘For her to reassure us when he was in hospital was amazing’.
Ken himself is just as surprised but happy at having a new friend, saying: ‘It was peculiar because we gelled straightaway – we were on the same wavelength.
‘She was interested in the old days and how we used to go on years ago – it just went from there. We’re both good talkers.
‘To have a young person pleased to help old people is amazing. I still have a few of my marbles and I’m not doing bad for my age.’
Tayla hopes that other people might follow their lead and take the time to befriend older people.
‘What I’m doing with Ken doesn’t take up much of my time but I think it’s so important – giving up half an hour of your day to go and visit someone who needs a bit of company,’ she said.
‘We speak on the phone a lot and I pop round for a cup of coffee – it’s really nice.’
Do you have a story you’d like to share?
Get in touch at [email protected]
Source: Read Full Article