If you've ever turned to your parents or your partner's parents for advice or help with parenting, you know just how important and wonderful grandparents are. That's why grandmother Mariam McQuade of West Virginia had the great idea of starting a day to honor these very involved family members. She herself had 40 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren and in 1973 established the holiday in her home state. Then, in 1978 Congress passed legislation to proclaim the first Sunday after Labor Day National Grandparents Day. McQuade passed away in 2008, but wanted the holiday to serve as a time for children to recognize, appreciate and embrace the wisdom carried by their grandparents. However, seniors with grandchildren were not the only ones she wanted to honor with the day. She hoped it would also remind younger people of all the elderly in nursing homes who live lonely lives. According to Grandparents-day.com
, some 60 percent of nursing home residents never have visitors. This year, the holiday falls on Sunday September 7 and for all those younger, healthy folks, we offer a few ideas to help honor those special seniors in your life, as well as those who have been forgotten.
Look through old family photos
with your grandparents and have them identify people in the picture. Write the names on the back of each photo so it is preserved for future generations. Consider putting the best photos in a scrapbook as you go, or setting them aside to be turned into a calendar. Also, if you have a tape recorder or video camera, use that during this too. You'll treasure the voices and stories for the rest of your life.
Print out a blank family tree
from Google and help your grandparents fill it out. Make copies and share with other members of your family.
Get them to tell their story.
On this day, let them do most of the talking and you listen well. Ask them a few questions about their 'good old days' and see what they say. Again, bring a recorder or video camera, or just write down what they say.
Play a game with them or bring children
(along with a few of their favorite toys) and have them play together. The senior will know what they are capable of doing and we guaranteed they will love this time.
Get your church, school, work or another service group to sign up for the Forget-Me-Not nursing home visitation program
. Find details at Grandparents-day.com
. Remember that you'll need to let the retirement facility know before you come.
Simply spend time with the senior in your life:
go for a walk, go fishing, see a movie, go out to eat, paint their toenails or nails, read to them, pray with them, plant something in their yard... the possibilities are endless. And truthfully, fancy gifts are not necessary. Your time, attention and interest are the only things many seniors ever want.
Happy National Grandparents Day from all of us at Manhattan Toy!