GRANDPARENTING BY TOM AND DEE AND COUSIN KEY
Dear Grandparenting: Please help answer me this. I am on the fence about what to do since my husband died. This house is way too much for me to handle and it’s sad and lonely here for me now. I could always move into an apartment. But I have friends who moved to be near their grown grandchildren who swear it’s the best thing ever. In my case, that would mean moving halfway across the country. I have always been a big believer in family. My three grandchildren are on their own and stay close to my son and his wife. I know they like me and don’t think I’m some old fuddy-duddy. Uprooting myself from this community will take some doing. But I feel I’m ready for a new adventure. Stay or go? GeeGee, Piqua
Dear GeeGee: Go, granny, go! It’s a no-brainer for us, and it sure sounds like you’re leaning towards taking the leap as a “big believer in family” who’s “ready for as new adventure.” Should you need a nudge, a fascinating new study shows that a close, personal relationship between grandparents and adult grandchildren markedly improves the happiness and psychological well being of grandparents and grandchildren too, and serves as a powerful antidote to depression as grandparents’ age.
Distance certainly matters with regard to the quality of the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. Communication technologies — even those enabling real-time, face-to-face chat between users in far-flung locations — are a poor substitute for the immediacy and intimacy of being there for shared experiences. Nothing beats close proximity.
Previous research on grandparents and grandchildren was largely confined to young children. With longer life spans becoming the norm, the sociological study by Sarah Moorman of the Institute on Aging at Boston College broke ground by exploring adult-adult relationships. Seniors want to remain independent and productive said Dr. Moorman, and were less likely to report feeling lonely, sad or listless when they engage in “exchanges” with adult grandchildren, helping with chores, transportation, advice or money. To our way of thinking, it’s a manifestation of a lyrical line from the Beatles — the love you give is equal to the love you get.
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GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
Yorkie from Lansing, Mich. asked granddaughter Sandy if she had done her homework reading for the novel the class was studying.
“OK, then tell me what the important part is.”
“The first line is important. And the second line is also important.”
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Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.