There's so much about your grandparents you don't know. You'd be surprised how much you can learn from them through a simple conversation. Widowed grandparents especially need someone who is willing to talk and spend time with them. The littlest things can make the biggest difference in their lives. Sometimes opening up to them can be difficult, but their love for you is unconditional. Don't be afraid to listen and be there for them when they need someone to lean on.
Here are 10 things your grandparents want you to know:
1. They love when you visit
According to this study, 60 percent of grandparents live close to their grandchildren and 46 percent wish they could live even closer. Grandchildren are a very important part of grandparents lives, and being able to see them often brings them immense joy. There isn't a greater feeling for them than seeing their family on the doorstep. The life and laughter family brings into their quiet home is something they wish would never go away.
2. They miss having people around
Life can be lonely for the elderly - especially for those who have lost their spouse. After long periods of being alone, they crave a social life. Human interaction is such a necessary component of life, that is easily taken for granted. Make time in your busy schedule to visit your grandparents, because they value the time they have to spend with their children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren.
3. Allow them time to adjust to their new roles
For new grandparents, changing roles from a parent to a grandparent can be confusing and difficult. They are no longer in control of their children's lives. It's time for them to let go and give their children the reigns. Allow them time to transition and they'll be patient with you while you're learning the ropes of parenthood. More than anything, know that they will always be there for you if you need help or advice on navigating the parenting world. They've already been in your shoes, so they are the perfect mentors.
No matter how hard you try to teach them the ways of technology, they will probably never fully understand it. A lot of people are set in their ways. While your intentions are good at trying to teach them the ways of modern life, remember that they managed to make it through life without many of the things you have. Some things are best done the only way they know how.
5. They want to be involved
Despite everything, they love being included in your life. They enjoy being involved with your grandchildren, plans and activities, and so much more. Allow them to pay for dinner, give gifts or do whatever they can to be part of your life. As grandparents get older, life tends to get lonelier, and this gives them an excuse to do something nice for their children and grandchildren. They want to be there for big life experiences and the little ones too.
6. They are just as smart as you are (if not more)
Your grandparents may be old and not as savvy to the modern world as you are, but that doesn't make them naive. Don't treat them as lesser people just because they move slower than they used to. Sometimes the daily things in life simply take them a little more time to accomplish. Continue to talk to and treat them as intelligent, rational and adult human beings.
7. They're still capable of doing things for themselves
While it may seem like they need everything done for them, they are still capable of doing things for themselves. They don't need to be babied. Give them the space they need to do things on their own. If they need help, most often they will ask for it. If you see them struggling, it never hurts to offer your help. It's up to them to decide if they're willing to accept or deny your offer. Give them the chance to make that choice for themselves.
8. Sometimes you need to be patient with them
All love requires a little patience. Your grandparents aren't as adept as they used to be. They move a little slower and think a little slower, so be patient with them. Work with them and allow them to navigate the world in their own time.
Despite their age, you can still trust them. They'll watch out for your kids on the days you need a break, and they'll take care of them better than anyone else. There isn't anyone else on earth who cares more for your children than they do.
10. While they can be stubborn, they appreciate the nice things you do for them
Yes, they're perfectly capable of handling things on their own, but they appreciate the nice things you do for them. Sometimes the greatest gifts you can give are not ones you can buy, but the ones that come from the heart. Give them the gift of your kindness and your presence whenever possible. It'll be one of the greatest gifts they'll ever receive.
Callie has two Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and Communication and when she isn’t writing, she’s reading. Some of her favorite things include Harry Potter, all things Disney, road trips, and telling stories.