Grandparents can be mentors, playmates, teachers and emotional support to their grandchildren, but sometimes this relationship needs a bit of encouragement. The extra efforts made by supporting players like adult children and in home caregivers pays off. A recent study of 376 seniors and 340 grandchildren reported in Medical News Today, Boston University researchers found:
” . . . an emotionally close grandparent-adult grandchild relationship was associated with fewer symptoms of depression for both generations.
The greater emotional support grandparents and adult grandchildren received from one another, the better their psychological health.”
Arthur Kornhaber, Foundation for Grandparenting president, explains that grandparents and grandchildren are “hard-wired to connect,” and their bond can be nearly as strong as that between parent and child. The following insights help both grandparent and grandchildren appreciate and enjoy each other, boosting long-term happiness for both.
Build an Attitude of Appreciation and Wonder in Grandchildren
Experts explain that sometimes grandchildren see grandparents as eccentric or strange, rather than experienced and unique.
In home caregivers and parents can shape the child’s perception with stories of the grandparent’s accomplishments or the trying times they survived. Knowing more about the grandparent’s background helps the child see the grandparent as three-dimensional; it also gives them subjects to discuss. Speaking disrespectfully about the grandparent when not in his or her presence only clouds the child’s view and must be avoided.
In home caregivers can keep their senior clients up to date on the grandchild’s life by asking the parent about academic, athletic and extracurricular activities. The caregiver can even ask for photos to show the client. Sharing this information not only keeps the elderly client apprised of the grandchild’s life, it helps him or her feel connected to the larger family.
Point Out Shared Habits and Traits
Artistic ability, physical characteristics, even interests pass from generation to generation. Many traits and strengths are even said to “skip generations,” passing from grandparent to grandchild, sidestepping the parent all together.
Helping grandparents and grandchildren recognize similarities builds stronger connections. The caregiver can mention to their senior care client how a grandchild has a grandparent’s laugh, energy, or gregariousness. When in home caregivers share how the grandchild is progressing in algebra, guitar lessons or Boy Scouts, grandparents recalls fond memories of their participation as well as the pleasure from engagement with the family. The senior caregiver brings meaning to a senior client when he or she points out grandparent-grandchild similarities.
Parents can support the grandparent-grandchild relationship by mentioning to children how much they resemble a grandparent. Even saying something to the child as simple as, “I know why you love Legos; Grandpa was an architect” or “you and grandma can’t resist a cat.” Further it boosts the child’s self-esteem. When parents are engineers and the child is a born stage performer, knowing that grandma, too, did community theater boosts the child’s sense of belonging.
Get Grandparents and Grandchildren Sharing New Experiences
Spending time in new, exciting environments bonds any two people. Two young adults date in order to build high-intensity shared experiences. When grandparents and grandchildren do the same, their bond grows, too. It’s unreasonable to think that children can spend hours sitting at the kitchen table discussing grandma’s old stories. It’s equally unreasonable to ask a grandparent to play a video game with a child. When both go to a new environment where their interests mesh, they can enjoy intense feelings that help them appreciate each other.
The engaged caregiver who remains aware of the grandchild’s interests (often obsessions) can keep an eye out for opportunities for grandparents and grandchildren to get together. If both are nature buffs, natural history museums and county parks have all kinds of programs. Many of their exhibits and even trails are wheelchair accessible. Both in home care givers and parents should be aware of how to make these bonding experiences happen.
Love 2 Live Care Makes Finding Conscientious In Home Caregivers Easy!
In home caregivers and adult children of seniors receiving care can share this article with each other. Working together, you can enrich the lives of grandchildren and grandparents. At Love 2 Live Care Services, we take an inventory of our caregivers’ interest to best match them with our clients. Get your free, no-obligation in-home assessment today! Call 619-291-4663 with any questions. Follow us on Facebook and sign up for our email newsletter to stay current on senior care options and ideas in San Diego.