Tips for Showing Respect To Our Grandparents

My entire life I have had the opportunity to be around elderly people. Not just my grandparents, but I also grew up with a set of great grand parents who were around until I was a junior in college! On top of that I have had neighbors, my parent's friends, my grandparent's friends, and even random associates that have flooded my life with wisdom and friendship.

I don't think my parents necessarily knew that my life would be filled with wonderful people so much older than me. And yet, they taught me how to be around them, talk to them, feel comfortable around them, respect them, and most important, serve them. 

They taught me that it is our job to turn around and help make their golden years, GLOW! Our job.

How can we better show respect to our grandparents? Here are a few tips. 

1. Realize that like Betty Friedan said "Aging is not lost youth, but a new stage of opportunity and strength." Not just for them, but for us too!

2. Empathize with them. It can be easy to be impatient with our grandparent/s frustration and moodiness. Sometimes they can even be mean. Aging is a series of losses and we need to step back and consider how it would feel to be in their situation.

3. Call them regularly. Research shows that more than anything, aging family members want to hear from their family. Conversations don't have to be long. Reach out, inquire about their day, share with them what is going on in your life and keep them apart of the conversation. You will quickly see that they have so much wisdom, their advice will make your life better.

4. Foresee problems and needs. Grandparents worry. They worry because there starts to be lots of things they can't do. It becomes hard for them to take care of themselves and their homes and do the things that need to be done. Their minds are often still running, but their bodies can't keep up. Not to mention, things are still moving quickly around them and it can be hard to understand insurance and appointments and all that needs to be taken care of. Don't let the stress take over. You know that their oil needs changed, take care of things, so they don't have to worry. Trips to the dentist, calling insurance companies, even changing batteries in smoke detectors. Foresee the needs and take care of them in advance! It will take away worry and that will also help take away orneriness! How? Well, I keep a calendar of dates, appointments and deadlines for my grandma. Then I know when things are coming up and can help. (Remember to help a little sooner than you think, grandparents work on different schedules than we do). The second thing I do is whenever I do something for our family, I do it for them also. Change batteries in smoke detectors at our house and theirs. Take out the trash at our house, take it out at theirs. Grocery shop, see if they need anything. Think ahead for them!

5. Provide a purpose. Our grandparents know a lot. A whole lot. They have experiences and understanding that we don't have. And now, they are alone and no one cares. Not to mention, their purpose has moved out and moved on. Time to care. Ask them how to do things, ask them opinions, ask them what they did when they were young. Give them something to live for. My grandmother teaches our children piano. They will not become Mozart, but they are learning and more important, my grandmother lives for Tuesdays. Literally. They play the piano for 30 minutes and then they learn about everything from World War 2, to planting and growing tomatoes. And. they. love it. And so does she. She is asked to teach lessons when we get together on Monday's and we all love it when my grandma brings her famous caramel corn to our weekly family gatherings. She has told me that when she feels needed, it gives her a reason to live.

There are other things we can do, but focusing on these will help our grandparents feel respected and loved. And as we serve them we will come to love them more than we ever thought we could.
-Heather
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