Celebrating Grandparents Day in Assisted Living Communities!
Grandparents are a very special part of our lives. If you have been fortunate enough to enjoy time with your own grandparents at any point in your life you know that the memories you share with them are priceless! Grandparents have a way of taking the best moments in life and making them even more memorable, whether it be a celebration dinner, a simple gift, a comforting hug, or a story shared. As we turn the pages of our calendars to celebrate National Grandparents Day on Sunday, September 8, 2013, take some time to honor, recognize, and give thanks for the grandparents in your life!
In 1978, President Jimmy Carter proclaimed that National Grandparents Day would be celebrated every year on the first Sunday after Labor Day. The thought behind a National Grandparents Day began with a woman named Marian McQuade, a housewife living in Fayette County, West Virginia. Marian had a heart of compassion for lonely elderly residents living in local nursing homes and it was her hope that she would influence grandchildren to value and appreciate the wisdom and heritage that their grandparents could offer them. It was these efforts and ideas that then led to the proclamation of a National Grandparents Day. Today we continue to observe Grandparents Day on our planners, calendars, and schedules. More than just a “greeting card holiday,” this special day offers us an opportunity to not only thank our grandparents, but to spend time with them.
Celebrating in an Assisted Living Community
Whether your loved one lives alone at home or in an assisted living community and whether they live nearby or miles away, you can do something simple to let them know you love them and appreciate them. Wherever your elderly loved one resides, it is not uncommon for them to face loneliness, especially when a spouse has recently passed away and they now live alone at home. Even when family members come to visit often, many seniors still feel a sense of emptiness in their lives as they age. Considering this reality, family members can help to prevent loneliness from overwhelming their loved one. Try some of these simple ideas with a special grandparent or other loved one in your life:
- Find a special treat that your loved one enjoys, such as oatmeal cookies, puzzle books, or a movie, and bring it with you when you come to visit.
- Call your loved one and set up a “date” with them and take them out for dinner, for a walk in the park, or invite them over to your home. Offer to pick them up and don’t be late! Many aging seniors love having something special to look forward to, especially if their calendar is filled with doctors appointments or other unpleasant obligations.
- If you don’t live nearby, make arrangements to use the technology of Skype or Facetime to have a chat with your loved one. Many assisted living communities offer assistance for their residents who are looking to connect with their families using these tools, so be sure to talk to an activities director about making these arrangements.
- Join your loved one for one of their regularly scheduled activities. If your loved one plays poker every Thursday or takes a yoga class on Saturdays, offer to come and join them for that particular activity. Whether they are involved in these activities at home, at a senior center, or in their assisted living community, many seniors are delighted to be able to share an activity they enjoy with a family member.
Many assisted living communities organize special events around Grandparents Day, inviting family members for celebrations featuring entertainment, family activities, refreshments, music and more. As a family member, take advantage of these fun community activities and use them as opportunities to connect with your loved one. You may be surprised at what your loved one will engage in when they have the company of family by their side. You can also use these opportunities to encourage your loved one to connect with other friends and neighbors in their community as well. Living in a community of friends and neighbors is one of the greatest benefits of living in an assisted living community and forming relationships with others is an effective way of keeping loneliness from dominating a person’s life.
However you decide to celebrate Grandparents Day, remember to make some memories! Sometimes the best memories are made with just a simple gesture. Write a note, share some photos, make time for a visit, and most importantly, let your grandparents know that you appreciate the time and wisdom they have invested in your own life. Passing along the wisdom of a loved one keeps their legacy and heritage alive and relevant for the next generation; be sure to guard it with care and gratitude. Happy Grandparents Day!
- Grandparents Day is Sunday, September 8, 2013.
- Grandparents Day was created to help encourage families to recognize and value the wisdom and heritage that grandparents can offer.
- There are many ways to encourage a lonely relative: share a special treat while visiting, plan a “date” together, use technology for a long-distance conversation, or participate in a regular activity with them.
- If your loved one lives in an assisted living community, be sure to take advantage of fun community events and activities that allow you to connect with your loved one and encourage them to connect with others.
- Take time to make memories with your loved one and pass along the wisdom that keeps their legacy and heritage alive for the next generation!
More Information about Assisted Living
If you are intrested in assisted living for yourself or a loved one please visit us at www.umh.org to learn more about our communities and services.
About Elizabeth Bemis
In 1998, I drove past an assisted living community construction site, learned that it was part of United Methodist Homes and realized the next stop on my professional journey was to work for a mission driven organization. Soon after, I joined the team as Executive Director of our Middlewoods of Farmington community and later served as Regional Manager for the Middlewoods properties before accepting my current role as Vice President of Marketing, Promotions, and Assisted Living Operations. I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, reading, walking, and love working alongside our staff, residents, and families to build strong communities that reflect the mission, vision, and values of United Methodist Homes.
Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.