Seniors have much longer life expectancies than they did a few decades ago, largely thanks to new medical advancements and people living healthier lifestyles. More seniors are reaching 80, 90 or even 100 years of age. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau says that the number of people reaching 90 years of age has now tripled in the United States.
One advantage of living longer is being able to make stronger connections with younger family members. Because seniors now live to a riper age, they get to watch their grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow up and become adults.
Because seniors are living longer, many adult grandchildren also find themselves taking up a caregiving role and helping their grandparents enjoy their twilight years. This can add a completely new dynamic to the grandparent-grandchild relationship. This article will take a closer look at that relationship to help you make it as rewarding as possible.
Managing a Relationship with Multiple Facets
One of the complexities of having a grandchild care for their grandparent is the multiple facets of their relationship. On one hand, the grandchild must take a pragmatic approach when looking after their grandparent’s health and well-being. They must deal with the daily logistics of caregiving, which usually includes a large workload.
The other side of the relationship is the emotional one. The grandchild will still want to view the grandparent as their mentor and teacher, despite being tasked to care for them. The grandparent will still want to protect their grandchild and impart some of their wisdom onto them.
It is important for grandchildren to remember that the logistics of caregiving shouldn’t get in the way of the emotional bond that they have with their grandparent. If the grandchild enters the home and spends the next 4 hours frantically cleaning and cooking — they may fail to maintain that emotional relationship. Sometimes, it can be better to simply sit down with your grandparent and have a great conversation instead of ensuring their home is fastidiously cleaned!
Grandchildren can make use of technology to perform the logistics of caregiving, freeing up more time for that emotional relationship. For example, a grandchild could teach their grandparent how to do their grocery shopping online, saving precious time, which can used to maintain the emotional relationship.
Grandchildren can also use outside help to free up some time. Hiring an in-home caregiver to help with menial tasks is one way to make extra time. The caregiver can perform menial tasks like house cleaning, cooking, grocery and shopping while the grandchild enjoys some precious time with their grandparent. It is always important to remember how having companionship positively affects a senior’s life.
Use a Team-Based Approach to Caregiving
Most adult grandchildren love contributing to their grandparent’s care. However, care should be taken to make sure they don’t burn out. Caregiving is extremely hard work, even for a younger person. Ask other people to be involved, including older relatives and other grandchildren. Make use of all of the services that are available, including government services and in-home care. If grandchildren have some help, they can provide more emotional support for their grandparents.
Make sure you preserve as many memories as possible
It is amazing how many historic events seniors witnessed throughout their lives. Grandchildren love hearing stories of the world wars, the Great Depression, the civil rights movement and many other incredible memories that grandparents have. Grandparents will also have hundreds of cherished family memories to talk about.
It is important to take the time to share these memories. Designate a few hours each week to sit down and have a conversation about the incredible events that your grandparents saw over their lifetime. It is an important part of having a fantastic grandchild and grandparent relationship.
How All Heart Home Care Can Help
All Heart Home Care is an experienced home care provider servicing the greater San Diego, CA area. They provide a wide range of home care services, allowing seniors to fully enjoy their twilight years in the comfort of their own homes. All Heart caregivers provides home care assistance in helping with various activities of daily living. Support ranges from a few hours per day to around the clock care.
To learn more about All Heart Home Care services, call All Heart Home Care at 619-SENIORS (736-4677) or send them a quick message.