Grandparents’ Vital Role
National Grandparents Day is September 9, 2018. As we prepare to celebrate Grandparents Day in our community, we reflect on the role Grandparents have in our society and our lives today. Being a Grandparent is an incredibly important life role for many reasons and societal functions. One of the most important things Grandparents provides are community, guidance, wisdom, and the ability to strengthen others around them. According to AARP, grandparents offer a different level of acceptance than parents, who must focus on discipline. Children benefit the most from having caring adults in their life that pay attention to them, show interest, and listen. Grandparents are perfectly positioned to show a child that he or she is loved and cared about. Grandparents offer a source of wisdom, solidarity, guidance, and unconditional love which strengthens any child – or person’s – sense of self.
This month, many life plan communities across the country will celebrate grandparents in honor of National Grandparents Day on Sunday, September 9, 2018.
National Grandparents Day was created to recognize grandparents’ role in our interpersonal lives and their valuable role in society. Officially designated in 1978 by President Jimmy Carter, National Grandparents Day gives grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children, and to help children become aware of strength, information, and guidance older people can offer. A mentorship is a powerful tool.
Grandparents Day has not yet achieved the same recognition as Mother’s or Father’s Day, but its popularity as an official day of recognition continues to grow. We enjoy seeing the holiday gain recognition as our society realizes the value it’s older class retains. Grandparents Day has become a perfect time to honor grandparents and celebrate community.
Grandparents Day 2018 at East Ridge at Cutler Bay
In our life plan community, grandparents have their family members over often. Grandchildren and great-grandchildren are frequent visitors and always welcome at East Ridge at Cutler Bay. It’s not unusual for granddaughters to join a book discussion with the Persnickety Book Group or come and craft with their grandmother. The East Ridge community is filled with great amenities and activities that can be enjoyed by both young and young at heart.
“There sometimes is a misconception that their grandparents’ lives may change when they move to life plan community but families find they now have much more quality time with their loved ones,” according to East Ridge executive director Ken Cormier.
Bonnie Massey, an East Ridge resident, is a grandmother of six and great-grandmother of 10. While Bonnie still communicates with her family mostly over the phone, she keeps a postcard album with cards the family sends to her from their travels. Her collection now includes hundreds of cards recording where they have been and the wonderful things they have seen. This postcard album practice started years ago when Bonnie sent her grandchildren personal postcards and to her delight, they started reciprocating by sending postcards in return.
Grandmother Elaine Koch hosts her young twin grandchildren at her East Ridge residence for sleepovers. She takes advantage of technology, using both an iPad and iPhone to keep in touch with her five children and 16 grandchildren. She also has three great-grandsons. The 83-year-old is comfortable texting, emailing and using Facetime. Her grandson helped her transition to the iPhone.
Grandparenting Pro-Tips from Awesome Grandparents
Try to not only plan visits for holidays and birthdays when quality time is fragmented. It’s much better to make an effort to carve out time for regular visits not related to a special event. We have found this tip increases emotional wellness and interpersonal relationships. Don’t wait for a holiday to celebrate!
Scrapbooks & Photo Albums
Making a scrapbook of family visits can become a long-lasting memory. Many rely on their cell phones for pictures but they don’t replace an old-fashioned photo album.
Stay in touch by using the same technology great-grandchildren use. Emailing, texting, WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook, digital photos and videos all are helpful for keeping those connections. An ancillary benefit is by using technology to connect may also motivate seniors to become more tech-savvy and comfortable with these tools.
Rather than just giving a book to a child, try to read it together. If not in person, grandparents can read sections of “Harry Potter” or other favorite children’s novels over the telephone, via Skype or even make a tape recording that the parents can play at night to help a youngster go to sleep. East Ridge community member, Pat Eaton passes along her hardback books to her granddaughter who also enjoys reading.
Keep family pictures out in your home and somewhere where the grandchildren can see them. They spark great conversations when the family visits. Take family snapshots too.
Letters & Mail
Great grandkids love receiving mail and there’s nothing like a periodic letter or postcard in the mailbox to let your grandchildren know you are thinking of them. If you want your grandchildren to get in the habit of writing to you, maybe a box of pre-addressed and stamped postcards will make it easier.
Maybe you have a special knack for a hobby or skill such as knitting, woodworking, beading or cooking. Provide grandchildren some time to watch what you are doing and encourage them to try too. The East Ridge craft classes are always welcoming visiting children and grandchildren and typically projects can be completed in one session.
Both younger and older kids enjoy learning about their ancestors and relatives. Encourage grandparents to share stories of their families. You can even provide paper and drawing supplies so they can chart the family tree.
Celebrate Grandparents with Us
Thank you to all of the Grandparents who share themselves with their community and loved ones. We are grateful for your contributions. You are a continual source of inspiration and guidance. Don’t forget to celebrate Grandparents Day on September 9, 2018! Feel free to share your celebration ideas or sentiments in the comments below or on our Facebook Page.