Now that you are getting a bit older and not a kid anymore, you have likely realized that your grandparents are growing older, too. This could mean that they need more help completing day-to-day tasks or you might have noticed other family members caring for them more often.
Whether you want to help your grandparents, or you are faced with the responsibility of stepping up before you feel ready, it can be overwhelming to take on a caregiving role, especially when you’re still learning to take care of yourself. Thankfully, there are a variety of ways to connect with your grandparents and assist with their care and well-being.
There are a lot of things you can do to help them that will have a significant impact on their quality of life, health, and mental health with minimal sacrifice – in fact many of these things will enrich your own life, too.
1. Get to know them better
If you want to help care for your grandparents, one of the best ways to do that is to get to know them better. You might consider asking questions about their childhood, what they like or don’t like, or what life was like when they were younger.
Remember: your grandparents raised your mom or dad, so it could be a good opportunity to learn more about your parents, too!
Learning what their lives were like can give you new insights into your parents and why they act the way they do, which can also give you insights into yourself.
2. Advocate for them (Health insurance, senior living homes, etc)
You may have spent most of your life looking to your parents and grandparents for various types of advice on life, important decisions, and similar things. At a certain point, the torch gets passed to you, and it becomes your responsibility to help them with various things.
Certain things that you take for granted, like hopping online to check prices or research purchases, aren’t necessarily as easy for older generations. Take shopping for health insurance for seniors, for example. The internet makes the whole process much easier, thanks to sites like mediclarity.org, but if your grandparents aren’t comfortable with computers, this is where you can step up and give them a helping hand to make sure they’re getting the coverage they need to protect themselves.
3. Connect through mail or by phone
While texting or social media might be your preferred way of communicating with friends, there is a good chance that your grandparents prefer a much simpler way to keep in touch.
Whether your grandparents live nearby or in another state, writing handwritten letters is a great way to keep in touch and show that you are thinking of them. While it’s not instant communication, having a letter from a grandchild will certainly brighten your grandparents’ day.
If you prefer a quicker way to keep in touch, you can try communicating together through email or by setting aside time to call your grandparents regularly. Whichever method you choose, you can be certain that your grandparents will be thrilled to hear from you.
If your grandparents have a tablet or a cellphone, Skype or Zoom are great ways to keep in touch with video calling, or Facetime if you’re all in the Apple ecosystem. If you’re looking for a gift idea, getting video chat setup for them will make them so happy.
4. Spend time with them
If you don’t have a close relationship with your grandparents already, spending time with them might not be high on your list of priorities. However, a solid foundation is important if you wish to care for them effectively.
Like getting to know your grandparents, the time you spend with them should be genuine, so it doesn’t feel forced. You might consider visiting them for a weekend, allocating a certain day during the week to visit with them, or joining them for a favorite activity.
5. Help with chores
As your grandparents get older, they may need some help around the house, shopping, or going to appointments. This is a great opportunity to show your grandparents that you care about them and it’ll help take some of the pressure off your other family members, too.
You can offer to do things like yard work, pick up groceries, or help with preparing easy meals. Not only will your grandparents appreciate the extra help, but it’ll be a good opportunity for you to bond and get to know them better.