old man's hands resting on caine
Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
March 31, 2024 ·  4 min read

82-Year-Old Widower Is ‘Adopted’ by Neighborhood Family of 7 as their ‘Grandpa’

Sadly, death is an inevitable part of life. Yet somehow, knowing that doesn’t make the subject any easier for most people to deal with. However, with enough luck, we’ll all meet people throughout our lives who help alleviate the sting of loss. Although widower Paul Callahan has lost his wife, he’s been very fortunate in other ways. He now lives across the street from a wonderful family who chose to “adopt” him into their family.

Meeting a Kind Widower

Living in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, widower Paul Callahan met some new neighbors who would improve his world. Sharaine Caraballo and her husband, Wilson, first moved to the neighborhood with their kids, feeling a little uncertain about the outcome. “Our biggest fear moving into a new neighborhood was, ‘What if our neighbors don’t like us?’ What if, because we have a lot of kids, they make a lot of noise and we come from a big family, so what if there’s any conflict with the neighbors?” Explained Sheraine. “We’re the only Black family in our neighborhood.”

Image source: USA Today

Fortunately, as the family of 7 began meeting neighbors, including Paul Callahan, they quickly realized they’d made the right choice. Paul Callahan offered his services “services” as a handyman. He came over to lend his ladder and some “expert tips” for fixing up their new home. The family’s relationship with the sweet man has grown and become such an important part of all their lives. “The kids run up to him like that’s their grandfather,” said Sharaine. “Paul is definitely a family member. He’s no longer considered a neighbor.”

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by SHARAINELATRICE MS.PARKAH (@sharainelatrice)

Joining Family Time

The family invites him over for dinners, cookouts, and other various family get-togethers. The 82-year-old widower now spends nearly every day at the house with them, sharing stories of his life with the kids. “You get many chances to talk to people. If you don’t take a chance, you may miss a friend,” Callahan warmheartedly explained. “It doesn’t hurt to be nice. That’s the other thing, it costs you nothing, but a lot of times, you get a better return.”

Some of the most important pieces of anyone’s life are those who touch their hearts. In this case, Paul has an honorary family full of loving kids to call his grandchildren.

Read: 31-Year-Old Man Invited 89-Year-Old Neighbor To Live With Him To Spend Her Last Days In Company

Love is Beneficial to All

This heart-touching story is just one of many that prove when humans treat each other with love, acceptance, and kindness; everyone involved thrives beyond even the wildest of dreams. Widowers, widows, and even elderly couples have a wealth of knowledge and adventure to share with younger generations. However, the responsibility falls to the younger generations to listen to the stories of the past, gaining wisdom and understanding. The Caraballo family has been incredibly blessed to have such a wonderful neighbor, and vice versa. Although not everyone has this kind of opportunity, everyone does have access to opportunities to develop friendships and connections with elderly people, including those widowers and widows who’ve heartbreakingly lost their spouses, their loves, and likely a few friends along the way as well.

Creating Quality for Others

Some simple methods for getting involved include reaching out to retirement communities and assisted living homes within your community. They’re often understaffed and underfunded, so they are generally open to offering volunteer opportunities. Fortunately, in many cases, they can work within your schedule to pair you with the right situation. Sometimes, these facilities and communities may be looking for someone to run a game night or help serve meals (depending on your state’s food handler regulations). Sometimes, young women can offer their services by doing hair and nails for a senior spa day.

Another option, although a kind act may not necessarily create a personal interaction with seniors, is to do a supply drop. These supplies can include things like bandages, over-the-counter supplies like Neosporin, and healthy, allergen-free treats. If you have the means and desire to help others while still remaining anonymous, this is a perfect solution. Supply donations can even extend to things like packaged foods and hygiene products. It’s important to note that many places can only accept new and unopened items for liability and safety purposes.

Spreading Holiday Cheer

For parents who’d like to involve their children in getting to know widowers like Paul, reaching out to these same local retirement homes and communities can still be an advantageous resource. Families can work with staff and supervisors. Hopefully, implement things like a pen pal program or a reading program. In which children can come to read books with the residents. Furthermore, the Holidays can be a bittersweet, if not altogether bitter, time for some individuals. Creating holiday cards or crafts and sending them along with mini candy canes or bite-size chocolate bars is a sure way to cheer up any widower and his friends.

Fortunately, in a world full of chaos, there are special moments like those shared between widower Paul Callahan and his adoptive family.

Keep Reading: Their Marriage Broke A World-Record, But Their Secret Is Simple


  1. Family of 7 takes in elderly neighbor as honorary grandpa.USA Today Zulekha Nathoo August 10, 2023.
  2. Family of 7 takes in 82-year-old widower neighbor as their new ‘grandpa’.Upworthy. Tod Perry August 16, 2023.
  3. Instagram. sharainelatriceandwilsynrose.