October is my favorite month of the year, with the crisp fall air and colorful leaves. It also marks my celebration of becoming a grandparent and the many joys this brings.
This fall on each Wednesday morning, I become my grandson’s caregiver. His play space stands ready with its Legos, art board, games, and various wheels. Songs have been chosen and books are ready next to his grandfather’s childhood chair. Fruit snacks are in the special containers he loves to open and close. A home-cooked lunch just needs heating. So starts our “routine”—always evolving as he grows—and we share precious gifts between us of love, affection, and kindness.
In my roles as grandparent—whether caregiver, encourager, teacher, historian, priest, or playmate—I get back so much more than I give. Many studies show that the close bond with grandchildren can help protect older adults from depression, boosts brain function, and can lead to a longer and happier life.* For me, it brings added depth of purpose and meaning to my life as I want to be present, be counted on, and encourage dreams.
If you’ve entered this phase of life, or are interacting with someone who has, what does grandparenting mean to you? Here’s a generative activity to explore the role of grandparents.
The founding ALICEhelps team includes parents and even some grandparents. We were brought together by our shared experiences as driven caregivers for our loved ones. So we are creating smart integrated tools to empower all generations—grandparents, parents, and children—to meaningfully connect and care.
*For example, check out the AARP Grandparent Study.