Grandparents are treasure troves of wisdom and our connections to the past. We live in a time where there are more grandparents and great grandparents than ever before and we should celebrate that. Sunday, September 8 is National Grandparents Day. This observance was established with the help of Marian McQuade, a West Virginia homemaker and advocate for the elderly. She campaigned nationwide for several years for a day to honor grandparents and in 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a bill designating the Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day, starting in 1979. There are three purposes for National Grandparents Day:
- To honor grandparents.
- To give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children.
- To help children become aware of the strength, information and guidance older people can offer.
Whether you have grandchildren or are a grandchild, this day recognizes the special role that all grandparents play in their families as well as in our society. Many of our residents are grandparents and great grandparents and this is the perfect time of year to show them some love and appreciation. The following tips can help you engage in a meaningful way with the grandparent or great grandparent in your life.
- Stay in touch. Whether it’s a phone call, letter or E-card, communication is an important lifeline when a person is away from home. Let your loved one know that you care, fill them in on news and tell them how much you appreciate them.
- Say it with flowers. Presenting your favorite grandparent with a flower arrangement is a lovely way to brighten their day. Did you know that the forget-me-not is the flower for National Grandparents Day? These small blue flowers bloom in the spring, but don’t despair if you can’t find them at your local florist this time of year. There are several options that can help brighten up your loved one’s room such as artificial forget-me-not arrangements, ornaments and artwork.
- Come for a family visit. Spending time with a loved one in a nursing home helps them stay connected and engaged. If they feel like a visit, bring their grandchildren and great grandchildren along as well. If their grandkids can’t make it in person, arrange a video chat or call.
- Make a scrapbook. Gather old photos and keepsakes and arrange them in a scrapbook.Add colorful and creative decorations. On your next visit, share it with your loved one and travel down memory lane together.
- Decorate their room. Before your next visit, ask your loved one if they would like to have their room decorated. Let them give you some ideas and bring in decorations and/or themed items to help them transform their room. Fall and football season both start this month so why not add an autumn wreath and artificial pumpkins or flags and posters from their favorite team?
No matter what, the best Grandparents Day activity involves you and your loved one together, celebrating your family and each other.