NJ Senior Living & Lifestyle

Maintaining close relationships with grandchildren is important for the emotional health and well being of seniors.  Here are some things to consider whether you live close or far away:

At home:

  • Play dress-up. Go through your closet and set aside unused clothes for pretend play – the more vintage and outlandish, the better. Add shoes, handbags and costume jewelry, too. Let your grandchild choose clothes for both of you to wear.
  • Do a puzzle. Pick out a jigsaw puzzle together at the store, and when it’s done, use puzzle glue to create a keepsake the child can hang on his or her bedroom wall.
  • Make portraits of each other. Use crayons or paints to tap into your inner artists. Display your grandchild’s artwork at your house, and let him or her take home your masterpiece.
  • Cook or bake together. Even very young children can follow simple directions and help mix batter or shape dough. Keep track of what you make together in a blank journal. This is a great way to pass on heirloom family recipes.
  • Work in the garden. Start in the cooler months by planning what you’ll grow, and map out where things will go in the garden. Come spring, shop together for seeds and supplies and make a weekly date to plant, prune and harvest.
  • Share a special hobby. Whether you knit, collect coins, go fishing or play cards, involve your grandchild in these activities. They are a wonderful opportunity for learning.

Excursions:

  • Take a class together. With parental permission, sign up for a gym, music or art class with your grandchild. Some towns even offer free classes like this for kids and grownups to do together.
  • Take in a show. Keep an eye out for local productions of kid-friendly productions. Your grandchild’s favorite television character may even be coming to a stage near you.
  • Visit the park. Go to the playground or just take a leisurely nature walk.
  • Head to a local museum. It doesn’t even have to be a special one just for kids – although those are certainly fun. Children of all ages can benefit from a trip to an art museum or historical center. Find out in advance if they hold special activities for kids.
  • Spend the day at a farm. Kids will love picking their own produce and visiting with any resident animals.

When you live far away:

Many families live far apart. If you aren’t close enough for in-person bonding, try these easy high-tech ways to stay close to grandkids:

  • Try video chat. Get help setting up a webcam so you can have live video conferences with your grandchildren. It’s a fun way to connect in a more personal way instead of using the phone.
  • Send a DVD bedtime story. Record yourself reading your grandchild’s favorite book. They can watch it at home and read along before bed.
  • Start a photo scavenger hunt. Pick a theme each week, like animals, food or even a certain shape or color. You and your grandchild can take pictures (film or digital) of things relating to that theme. Then, share the images via e-mail or regular mail and collect them in a photo album. Bring the albums when you do get together so you can talk about the pictures.

Posted by: Frank Esposito, VP Expert Home Care.  New Jersey’s Expert Home Care provides professional, dependable home health care and companion care for NJ elderly, helping them with their daily living activities since 1984. Please call us toll free at 800-848-2336 when you have home care related questions or need assistance for a loved one. Get a Free Home Care Assessment (a $375 value!) when you mention this post.

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