Are age differences a barrier to friendship? In our communities we find that not only are they rarely a barrier, but that friendships forged across generations can be mutually beneficial. Mika Miller, the director of resident services at Carlsbad By The Sea, spoke with two friends, caregiver Daniel Lack and resident Dr. Carlin Matson about how their friendship evolved despite an age gap of almost 80 years.
Daniel Lack: When I began working at Carlsbad By The Sea I came for the experience and to use that experience as a stepping stone in my nursing career. Shortly after starting I was asked to get to know and provide companion care for Dr. Matson. I wasn’t sure what to expect but with an open heart and mind I met one of my best friends.
An age gap of 79 and ½ years had no borders on our relationship. A couple times a week “The Man” himself and I took walks down the boardwalk to State Beach so that we could “mind surf” in the ocean together. We would continue our walks back to Carlsbad By The Sea to play billiards and eat lunch together. This was fun, but it was the in between activity time that Doc and I bonded. The conversations, the goofing around and the stories that we s
hared gave me a grandfather figure who I have a ton of love for.
I will not forget Doc and his wife Ruthie for they have printed a mark on my heart. I am leaving this community and headed back to Long Beach but when I am in the area visiting my friends, the Matson’s are on that list to visit!
Dr. Carlin Matson: Most of my career life was spent in Inglewood, California where I was a dentist to all ages, bought a home and raised children with my beautiful wife Ruthie. I had many friendships along the way.
I retired from dentistry in my 70s and find myself some 32 years later, 102 years old, missing male companionship, someone to share my energy and active time with. My daughter and wife recognized that need so they arranged for a weekly companion. That is where I met Daniel, a very polite and attentive young man.
Gradually a friendship developed over the time spent during those weekly meetings. We would walk and talk, share our stories and play billiards. Sometimes we would share a meal together. I could tell he was a good kid, polite, what we would call a gentleman. We built our friendship over the months.
As all young people do and as I did before him, Daniel found his calling and decided to pursue a nursing career. That being said, he has moved up to the Los Angeles area to begin his schooling. Some would say we had a nice relationship but what we had was an equal relationship, two guys just hanging out and he won’t be forgotten! I look forward to his future visits when he comes not as my companion but as our friend.