Whether we realize it or not, we owe a lot to our grandparents. In honor of Grandparent’s Day, we challenge you to ask yourself: how much do you know about their lives?
In childhood, grandparents are our playmates - slipping us candy when mom and dad aren’t looking and sending us birthday cards with a little spending money. In adulthood, our relationships with them may change but should never grow apart.
No matter what the status of your relationship with your grandparents is now, use Grandparent’s Day as a way to check in with them. Remember how many life experiences your grandparents have been through and how much worldly knowledge they have to offer, and thank them for it.
Grandparents are living longer than ever before, and we all have computers and phones that make it easier for all types of relationships to thrive. Here are a few of our tips for making the most of this Grandparents Day.
If Your Grandparent Lives in a Nursing Home or Assisted Living
Most seniors will need long-term care, and sadly, many people living in nursing homes are lonely. They’re confined to one wing of a building, even those with large families. Use today as an opportunity to make or plan a visit.
While you’re there, look out for them and try to make them feel happy in their surroundings.
Visiting them doesn’t need to be a big event. Read a book with them, or, if their eyesight is failing, read to them. Many nursing home residents can’t enjoy the hobbies they used to love, but they could still enjoy those hobbies through their kids and grandkids.
If they used to love traveling or sightseeing, bring in photos of your latest vacation or some photography magazines. Bring in the old pair of binoculars you never use and sightsee from their room or facility grounds.
If they love crafts and decorating, ask for their ideas on a room in your house you want to improve. Help them record their old family recipes and remedies.
It’s the little things, like building on a hobby together, that make a big difference.
Focus on the positive and have some lightheartedness, but be sure to always keep an eye on their care. Improper treatment or nursing home abuse happen more often than we think, so i't important to keep an eye out for warning signs of neglect or mistreatment.
Signs can include
- Poor hygiene
- Unexplained wounds
- Sudden weight loss
- Feelings of fear or social withdrawal.
- Changes in medication, or strange medicine side effects
If your grandparent has suffered falls or bedsores, you’ll want to take immediate action to make sure they’re safe.
Even if it’s not possible for you to visit your own grandparents, reach out of a local nursing home to visit someone else’s grandparents. Go with your best friend or your significant other. You never know how much you may be able to brighten their day.
If Your Grandparent Still Lives at Home
You don’t need a reason to go check in. It shows you respect them and care about how they’re doing. Cook something you know they like, even something as simple as chocolate chip cookies. Take the time to set up the printer they’ve been struggling with or the voicemail box they can’t remember the code to.
Remember, they had the patience to teach you to tie your shoes and ride a bike. Now’s your time to thank them.
To really do something meaningful, ask them questions. This can start as something open-ended, like “what do you wish you had known when you were my age?” or “if you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?”
These questions could lead to a larger conversation about their plans and wishes for the future, what inspires them, and what they've learned throughout their walk of life.
It may be a difficult conversation, but you need to discuss things like finances, where they hope to be when they can’t live at home anymore, and end-of-life wishes. Medical emergencies happen more frequently than we realize, and knowing what your grandparents want will give you the confidence to speak to doctors and other family members.
The more prepared you are, the less stressful it will be for you, and the happier your grandparents will be. Write down questions or topics to touch on in advance, and bring a notebook to write down important details.
Most importantly, listen. Don’t push any opinion or agenda. The only way you can make the best decisions in the future is if you understand their needs, resources, and your wishes as a family.
We're Here to Help
We help residents who have been seriously injured by nursing home mistreatment. For those of you struggling with a loved one in a nursing home, our firm can help guide you through this stressful time. We don’t charge anything to speak to concerned family members, and we can travel anywhere in the United States. We’ve been representing seriously harmed residents for 30 years. Let us help.