One of the most wonderful aspects to our population living longer than ever before is the thought of grandparents in our communities getting to enjoy even more precious time with their families. What a gift, and one we love to celebrate as often as we can! With Grandparents’ Day falling this week, we thought we’d take a minute to offer some fun and meaningful suggestions for families to honor the grandparents in their lives. Here are some great ideas we’ve seen in our communities:
- Organize an afternoon tea party! This works well with elementary school aged kids who are old enough to bake with you. If you have a favorite family cookie or brownie recipe, bake up a batch and pack them up with a few different kinds of tea to take over to Grandma’s. Or stop at her favorite bakery pick up some treats. If she’s in assisted living, call ahead to the activities director to arrange for table settings and a cozy spot, and you’re in business!
- Go green with a plant or herb garden! Depending on Grandpa’s living situation, an indoor planter with low-maintenance succulents or fragrant herbs can be a nice touch for his room or apartment. If your kids are old enough for a simple art project, have them decorate an eight- or nine-inch terracotta planter with finger painted handprints and plant some easy annuals that do well indoors. A rubber plant or jade plant provides simple greenery; begonias and African Violets are more colorful options.
- Make a family calendar! Online sites like Shutterfly and VistaPrint make this so easy, provided you have photos for each month and a week or so for processing. Customize Grandma’s calendar with meaningful holidays, birthdays, and quotes. Most sites will let you choose whatever format makes sense: most popular are wall-mounted, desktop, or refrigerator versions.
- Host a singalong! Experts often speak of the therapeutic power of music for the aging brain — not only for those in memory care, but for all senior cognitive brain function. If Grandpa’s in a senior community and loves music, pick three of his favorite tunes. Print out some sheet music, and invite his community mates to sing along with you as you take a walk down memory lane! Young grandchildren love this idea, too – it’s a wonderful way to bridge the generations and create happy memories for all.
- Take Grandma out for a drive! If she’s able, plan a simple excursion to a place Grandma loves. Fun ideas include a stop for frozen yogurt or ice cream; a trip to a nearby playground, where she can watch the kids run around; a visit to a pet store; a walk through a local greenhouse or plant store; or a trip to the local library or bookstore.
Do you have ideas you’d like to share? Tell us in the comments!