The Caring Corner - Blog

What Grandparents Really Want

By Emma Dickison

As professional in-home caregivers and families of those who count on our support, we know how much grandparents treasure their connections to family. 

Hollywood gives us a romantic view of grandparents. They are the keepers of family history and comforters in times of family stress. In the Hollywood version, Grandma and Grandpa are in the waiting room during delivery with just the right toy/tool/advice … whatever … and mostly offer hugs and sage wisdom to their descendants.

But as Grandparents Day approaches, we’re thinking about how this translates to the 21st Century.

In many of our families, roles have changed. Many grandparents (particularly, let’s face it, grandmothers) have become primary caregivers to their grandchildren. In others, distance and blended families make the grandparent relationship less clear.

That’s part of the many major societal shifts we’re all dealing with. And nobody needs to be told this more than caregivers.

But some things don’t change.

No matter where we are in life, none of us of stop wanting to be part of the group, the community, the family. We have a natural need to belong. Too often, we deprive our older family members in this regard.

There’s a wealth of (mostly) non-judgmental experience grandchildren can draw on if only we ask. But we actually have to start the conversation.

We love our grandparents for their stories and they love us for ours. So, let’s keep them up to date.

This year, to celebrate Grandparents Day, don’t just call and share pleasantries. Make a commitment to close that loop for an entire year. Talk to them on a regular basis. And not just to ask how they’re doing, tell them how you are. What’s going on in your life? How do you feel about it?

My grandmother, after suffering five strokes, loved to sit out on her front porch with any of her eight grandchildren and simply hear about our day. That time with her was priceless and something I still treasure in the many years since she has passed.

Share something meaningful.

When you invite someone into your life it takes a commitment, but more often than not, the reward is more than you expected.

Happy Grandparents Day.