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If You Don’t Have Elderly Friends, You’re Missing Out!

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Elderly friends can teach us so much about life. Here are three reasons that I've found to have elderly friends.
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Wisdom, honesty and patience are just a few of the benefits of having older friends.

Memorial Day was just around the corner when an elderly man in our church shared about the importance of honoring those who have given their lives for our country. He had served in the military and expressed concern about young people not knowing what this holiday is about. He explained how it is our responsibility as parents to help our children understand and remember the sacrifice that so many have given for our freedom.

My husband and I felt guilty. We had not done an adequate job of explaining Memorial Day to our kids. Per this man’s suggestion, we took them to a parade and had a conversation about how this holiday was much more than catching candy thrown their way, and enjoying BBQ and a day off school.

This experience reminded me afresh of the benefits of having elderly friends. Sometimes it is easier to be around people in our same age group and demographic, but we miss out when we don’t seek older friends—whether at church, our neighborhood or in our community.

Here are three compelling reasons to have elderly friends:

1. Wisdom

Those who are older than us have life experiences and a perspective on history that provides important lessons to learn from and pass down to others. They can link us to the past in a way that enriches our present and positively impacts the future.

At an open house, I struck up a conversation with an elderly woman from Germany. We were both writers and she shared her perspective on social media and her reservations about it, due to her upbringing. Although we didn’t necessarily see eye-to-eye, her insights were fascinating and helped me think about technology from a different viewpoint.

2. Honesty

Elderly folks can sharpen us when they speak their mind and don’t sugarcoat how they feel. It saves a lot of time when you don’t have to do mental gymnastics to try and decode what your friends actually mean.

A ninety-five-year-old friend told me she didn’t care for my new hair cut. Her unfiltered honesty was actually a welcome relief. I knew where I stood with her (and my hair did too). I didn’t have to wonder what she thought because I knew she would tell me.

3. Patience

Sometimes our older friends do things more slowly, repeat themselves or need our assistance (again) to navigate their cell phone or computer. But in our fast-paced, drive-thru, instant gratification society, it is good to slow down and interact with others at a more deliberate pace.

An older friend of ours is faithful to encourage others. His words are many and sometimes come at inconvenient times (like when my kids are pulling on my arm to hurry up) but as I focus on what is being said, my spirits lift. He takes the time to say kind things that help me through the fast-paced and harried days of parenting young children.

Wisdom, honesty and patience are just a few of the benefits of having older friends. Seeking out friends who are in a different age bracket helps us grow and live a fuller life.