3 Ways the In Home Care Provider Can Encourage the Grandparent Relationship

June 4, 2015

In a 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.”

This study highlights the role grandparents play as mentors, playmates, teachers, and even care providers. According to Arthur Kornhaber, president of the Foundation for Grandparenting, the grandparent-grandchild bond is second only to the parent-child bond. Kornhaber has also asserts that grandparents and grandchildren are hard-wired to connect and that they have “adoration and unconditional love and joy in one another’s existence.”

With all this joy out there for the taking, caregivers, parents and grandparents should take advantage of it. Not only can the in home care provider encourage the grandparent relationship, they can facilitate parents’ doing the same. This post provides some insights into helping both grandparent and grandparent appreciate and enjoy each other for the long-term happiness of both.

Caregivers and Parents Can Build an Attitude of Appreciation and Wonder in Grandchildren

Experts explain that, too often, grandchildren see grandparents as unapproachable, distant or strange. Both caregivers and parents can bolster the child’s perception by telling stories of the experiences, incredible feats or accomplishments the grandparent enjoyed. Sharing these some of this history will also give children something to talk about with the grandparent. Adult children (parents of the grandchild) need to be careful how they talk about the grandparent when he or she is not present as this habit clouds the child’s view. Similarly, the in home care provider who makes a point of keeping their senior client apprised of what’s going on in a grandchild’s life, helps the client feel connected to the larger family.

Help Grandparents and Grandchildren See Their Similarities

Sharing stories isn’t the only way the in home care provider and parents can foster the grandparent-grandchild relationship. Helping grandparents and grandchildren see their similarities also forges stronger connections. How traits continue from generation to generation fascinates all of us. The caregiver can mention to their senior care client how a grandchild has a grandparent’s ears, laugh, or tendency toward shyness or extroversion. The parent can say, “I know why you’re afraid of the dark. Grandma Julie used to tell me she would never go into her sister’s room because of one scary doll.” Because traits skip generations sometimes, it’s important for the child’s sense of belonging to understand why they are an artist or a pianist when mom and dad have jobs in biotech. When the in home care provider can make a point of relating to the grandparent just how the grandchild is progressing in his or her music lessons, math classes or outdoor skills training, the grandparent experiences the joy of his or her own memories as well as the pleasure that comes from feeling connected to family. This sense of value and contribution escapes many seniors. The senior caregiver creates great meaning when relating the similarities a client shares with a grandchild.  

When Grandparents and Grandchildren Share Experiences

While spoiling grandchildren with cookies and toys feels wonderful, so, too, does spending time with them in a new environment. An engaged caregiver can watch for signs of what a grandchild likes the most. Categories include: Legos, animals, sports, fishing, outdoor activities, amusement parks, shopping, movies, character events like “Disney on Ice” and more. The caregiver aware of these interests (often obsessions) can keep an eye out for opportunities for grandparents and grandchildren to get together. Laughing at a monkey in the zoo, a funny movie or putting together a Lego project or craft can be more fun than turning over the latest video game. While often the grandparent must participate in an activity the child enjoys rather than what he or she has most interest in, this is also an opportunity for the grandparent to expose the grandchild to some activities they’ve always enjoyed. Both in home care givers and parents should be aware of how to make these bonding experiences happen.

My Care Match Makes Finding an Ideal In Home Caregiver Easy!

Those looking for an engaged and enthusiastic in home care provider can fill out a profile on My Care Match. We encourage our caregivers to let their personalities shine through. If you’re an adult child looking to find care, you can print out this article and explain to the caregiver that you want your children to be as close to your parents as possible. Caregivers find great meaning in their work; encouraging them to help your father or mother feel more connected to family feeds their genuine desire to make a difference. Click the link above to get started or contact us with any questions you may have!

About the Author

Doug Breuer is co-founder of MyCareMatch.com and has worked in senior care for the last 9 years for the State of Oregon. From investigating cases of elder abuse to managing the delivery of long term care to residents of Central Oregon, Doug has been involved in all aspects of senior care.

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