Dear ElderFriends Pal

May 25, 2021

The makings of an ‘un-frog-ettable bond’

 

ElderFriends volunteer Taylor Hardie holding photos of a frog and a letter.

Receiving letters in the mail, especially when they come unexpectedly from loved ones, has the ability to brighten up anybody’s day. Knowing that somebody was thinking about you and put effort into letting you know is an ultimate act of care.

Despite having never met in person, Taylor Hardie and her elder friend have formed such a meaningful friendship by doing just that. They have been exchanging letters in the mail throughout their time together in the ElderFriends companionship program, which has only served to strengthen their bond with one another.

The Perfect Recipe for Friendship

“He likes to get the Sunday paper and whenever he sees a recipe he’ll send it to me,” said Taylor. “Whenever I see a recipe or hear something about food I get excited to tell my elder friend or I’ll write him a letter about it.”

They share a lot of soup recipes with each other, with lentil soup being Taylor’s favorite that she’s cooked so far. The pairing has quickly bonded over their shared love for food.

Taylor also said, “We bond a lot when he gives me so many tips and tricks on how to cook certain foods.”

Taylor’s elder friend has taught her the technique of properly boiling an egg, how to cook brown rice, and making a delicious serving of tomato soup by adding orange juice into the ingredients list. Sharing hearty meals and cooking hacks has served as a way for the two to connect over a common hobby.

An Un-frog-ettable Bond

Aside from recipes, Taylor and her elder friend also exchange photos of their pets through letters. In particular, Taylor would send pictures of her Packman frog that she rescued from her little brother.

“A moment where I felt that we really connected was when I sent him photos of my animals. I have a large frog that I hadn’t mentioned to him before and thought that I would send a picture to him,” Taylor noted.

Upon revealing her pet with her elder friend, Taylor discovered that he collects glass and wooden figurines of frogs.

“After I called the following week he was really excited because he had never told me about his glass frog collection, which I thought was cool. I think a frog is a unique pet, and an even more unique thing to collect!”

These pals were surprised to discover their shared love for frogs, but it has only brought them closer together.

Making a Difference

Reflecting on her time in the ElderFriends program, Taylor has expressed her deep appreciation for the work that it takes to bring companionship to elders.

“The older generation aren’t able to do as much and you can just tell how much the isolation is affecting them, so I think that it’s super amazing that there’s a program to reach out to them specifically to make them feel not so isolated and I feel really proud to be involved in something like that,” Taylor shared.

Taylor has successfully been a part of relieving feelings of isolation from her elder friend. From exchanging appetizing recipes and photos of unexpected pet frogs, letters have acted as a way for Taylor and her friend to truly connect with each other during these difficult times.

“He gives me something to look forward to. It’s nice that someone is thinking about you, and I am also glad that I can give that to him in return. That gives me a lot of positivity and joy.”

Learn more about ElderFriends at https://www.fulllifecare.org/services/elderfriends/.