For many people, visiting grandparents is something that often only occurs when there’s a special occasion involved, even if they live around the corner. But it’s important to remember that for many seniors, life can become very lonely. According to the 2012 International Federation Aging report, the need for seniors to become and remain socially connected to their community is the number one issue facing Canada’s elderly population. As their friends and loved ones begin to pass, isolation from others becomes a real impediment to mental, emotional, and physical wellness. Lack of financial resources or even losing the ability to drive are other factors that can further isolate many seniors.
Grandchildren have a way of lifting the spirits of Grandma and Grandpa, reinvigorating them with purpose, companionship, and that youthful vigour. But it’s a mutual benefit for both. Visiting your grandparents is not only rewarding for them, but it can be rewarding for you as well.
Strengthen Family Bond
Spending time with your grandparents allows you both to formulate a bond that may not have existed previously, or was fragile to begin with. By visiting them more frequently, you can really get to know them and they can get to know you, while also encouraging your other family members to get more involved. You’d be surprised at just how much you might have in common with them.
Learn About Your Family History
You’d be amazed at the stories that your grandparents have. Whether it’s about your parents, your relatives, or any of the epic, historic events that they’ve experienced throughout their lives - there’s really no better way to get to know some history about your family, and hear some great stories.
Give and Receive for Both
Sometimes, it’s often the smallest gestures that can really make all the difference. Whether it’s a phone call or a face-to-face conversation, those interactions can completely lighten their day and help to stimulate their mind and memories, which in turn, can improve their emotional and mental well-being. Simultaneously, as you encourage that engagement from your grandparents, it can make you feel great knowing that you’re simply helping to brighten their day.
Grandparents Can Say Things Parents Can’t
Hanging out with grandparents can be the therapeutic conversation you often need because they can often say what parents simply can’t. They can be your voice of reason, and provide you with undivided attention when you need someone to listen. Since they aren’t your parents, they can provide a broader perspective and can provide you with the advice that can be just the thing you maybe didn’t want, but needed to hear.
Just Spending Time
Visiting your grandparents doesn’t have to be a big to-do. Just pop in after school or work one day with some cookies you picked up at the bakery along the way, or some extra paper towels because Grandma ran out. You don’t have to sit and chat about the old days either; simply come over and watch the Sens game or catch up on the latest episode of The Bachelor with Grandma. Simply the act of spending time together and providing companionship is often all that’s needed.
So make the time and effort to spend more time with your grandparents. With the hectic schedules of life today, it can be hard to carve out time for ourselves, let alone others. But the power you can have in brightening their day, while helping to improve their well-being, can be such as rewarding experience for both you and them. So give them a call, set a date, and make it a frequent occurrence.
- Stephen Bleeker