Grandparents play an important role in most families. They can be a confidant to their grandchildren, a cheerleader and source of unconditional love, and a resource for learning and exploring the world. Whatever the role, the support of a grandparent is invaluable. Research shows that children with involved grandparents develop healthy attitudes about aging.
In some families, grandparents have assumed even greater roles in their grandkids’ lives. Single-parent households and families where both parents work outside the home are increasing. Grandparents often fill in when a child’s mother or father can’t be there. From helping with car pool duties to babysitting after school, grandparents help bridge the gap in care.
On Sunday, September 11th, Heritage Senior Communities and aging services organizations across the county will honor the important work of family elders by celebrating Grandparents Day. It’s a holiday that dates back to 1978 and then-President Jimmy Carter.
If you and your family would like to plan something special for Grandparents Day, we have a few ideas you might find helpful.
Honoring Senior Loved Ones on Grandparents Day
- Host a family talent show: This can be a great intergenerational family event. It doesn’t take great talent, just a willingness to have fun. Coordinate a family talent show where everyone in the family—individually or in groups—participates. Long distance family members can record their talent for you to share with your senior loved ones during the show. You can even go the extra mile and award prizes, such as Most Talented, Best Group, Most Original, and Best Sport.
- Plan a picnic in the park: Early September is a great time to plan outdoor activities in Michigan and Indiana. If you aren’t familiar with the local park system, call to see which ones take reservations for covered picnic areas and if any are accessible for adults with mobility issues, if needed. Reserve space for your family to enjoy an intergenerational picnic on Grandparents Day. Keep the menu simple and ask everyone to bring a dish or two. You could also plan a few old-fashioned group games, such as balloon toss and egg races.
- Organize a legacy project: As we grow older, most of us begin to reflect on our life, family, and contribution to the world. Legacy planning becomes important to many seniors. They might become interested in researching their family tree or documenting what they know about their family for future generations. A nice Grandparents Day activity could be for all of the family’s generations to tackle one of these projects together. This list of genealogy websites might provide you with helpful information to get started.
- Host an outdoor movie night: This is another great way to gather with several generations of the family. It can be as simple as renting or borrowing a digital projector or lightbox and showing a classic Disney movie. You can stream it against the side of the house or on a white sheet strung between two trees in the backyard. Place blankets on the lawn for the kids and camping or folding chairs for the adults. Serve favorite movie foods, like buttered popcorn, boxes of candy, and pop. Don’t forget to stock up on bug spray.
- Schedule a home maintenance day: This requires a little work from everyone in the family, but can be a great bonding experience. By tackling home repairs and maintenance projects at your senior loved one’s home, you’ll provide a meaningful gift. Help your parent create a list of things they need done around the house. Encourage them to be honest and not hold back. Then you can track down the supplies needed for the projects before the scheduled work day. Remember to take pictures!
Enjoy Life at Heritage Senior Communities
From healthy meals and maintenance-free living to a variety of enrichment activities, the benefits of senior living are numerous. If you or a loved one is considering a move, we hope you’ll keep Heritage Senior Communities in mind. Call the community nearest you to schedule a private tour today!