Seasons of Change Blog
Grandparents Day and the Impact of Bringing Generations Together
September 9th is National Grandparents Day in the United States. Grandparents Day became a formal holiday in 1978 and is recognized in other countries as well, although on different days. This year I am taking note as a new “Nana.” I have a beautiful five month old grandson named Nash. So, happy Grandparents day to me and to you if you have grandchildren.
You may ask, “Why do we celebrate this day?” Skeptics may say that we celebrate the day so that Hallmark can sell more cards. Actually, the purpose of the holiday, as stated in the preamble to the statute, is "to honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children's children, and to help children become aware of the strength, information, and guidance older people can offer.”
Across the world we are seeing, on average, 10,000 individuals turn 65 every day. One would also speculate that many of these individuals are also grandparents. And, while in part the purpose stated is to recognize these individuals and the fact that grandparents can impart wisdom and guidance to their grandchildren, we should note that this is a two-way street.
Inter-generational programming, such as the award winning inter-generational program at Kendal of Oberlin, creates an atmosphere daily where the generations can interact. New friendships develop, lives are enriched and overall quality of life is enhanced by little ones as young as three interacting with older generations.
A new word has been created and adopted to recognize this interaction between the generations. Grandfriends, are defined as people who are equal to or older than your parents. At the Kendal at Oberlin, toddlers, as well as high school and college students, interact with the residents. These programs are in place across the nation, and are an excellent way for the generations to meet with each other and benefit from sharing knowledge and joy. Further, as people are living longer these programs provide a way for seniors to meet and overcome some of the challenges of retirement by providing a purpose, allowing for social interaction, and providing an opportunity for them to give back by way of sharing a life’s worth accumulation of knowledge. The younger generations in turn share their enthusiasm and joy for life as well as to help guide and educate the seniors that they have come to know and “adopt.” This two-way street often proves to be advantageous for all involved.
So, as we acknowledge Grandparents Day this year, let us realize that while this is a day where we thank and acknowledge our grandparents for their contribution to us and society, we must allow for a two-way sharing of knowledge and joy which benefits not only the individuals involved but in the long run has a positive impact on society as a whole.
The Benefits to Proactive Planning in the Aging Process
As the founder of Seasons of Change Aging Life Care Management, I have seen the composition of my clientele change to some degree over the 5+ years I have been in practice. The shift has been in the approach that my clients are taking to the aging process. Aging does not have to be scary IF we prepare for the process properly and with professional assistance. As a society we are living longer and we want to “age in place.” The clients that I have been dealing with more and more are those who understand that the recipe for success is in approaching the aging process PROACTIVELY.
Several weeks ago, a gentleman client said to me, “I wish we had called you weeks ago, we could have avoided this mess.” He is not the only client who has expressed this sentiment or something similar. And in reality, the process would have been more cost effective had Seasons of Change Care managers been involved earlier; the time taken to “untangle the mess” would have been avoided. Quite literally we could have transitioned his loved one from point A in their life to point B much more smoothly. So, what is the lesson here? Engaging a professional at the onset of the event, or ideally before an event happens, is not only cost effective but results in far less emotional and physical stress on all individuals involved. This leads to a better aging process whether you are 50, 60, 70, 80, or 90. PROACTIVE involvement with a professional Aging Life Care Manager also reduces the risk of medical or hospital error. As nurses, my care managers and I bring our clinical backgrounds in hospital care, skilled care, long term care, and home care, to the table. We are not only clinically strong but know and understand the systems and work with those systems in your best interest.
Aging Life Care Managers approach their client and the families holistically. This graphic, generated by the Aging Life Care Association, of which I am an Advanced Professional Member, allows us to visualize the approach that we take. When we team up with you and your loved one we address any immediate needs first, then we explore further to provide support, education and vetted referral information to assist in those areas that are outside our expertise, including health care providers, elder care attorneys, financial planners, home care companies and other appropriate resources that you may need and that you can trust to keep your best interests at heart.
I encourage a call to Seasons of Change. Let’s talk, and let me advise as to how my care managers and I, can be of service to you in your unique situation. The initial call is free and allows me to ascertain how our expertise can be best put to use to serve your needs. Isn’t it worth your peace of mind?