Dear Grandparenting: My wife and I have lived in the state of Washington all of our lives. It is really all we know. Our friends are here. Our memories are here. We have never given one minute of thought about leaving until the last few months. Now we talk about it constantly.
This all started when we returned from visiting our daughter. She is our only child. She is married and lives in Florida. We have three grandchildren whom we enjoy tremendously. They are 14, 17 and 20. We didn’t realize how much we enjoyed being with the grandkids until we returned. Something came over us. As soon as we got home, my wife began to call them and email them and use that two-way video thing on her computer where she can see and talk to the grandkids at the same time. I will admit I like the weather in Florida, too. But if we do move, the grandkids are the main attraction. Are we crazy to pick up and go? Blair Williams, Everett, Washington
Dear Blair: If you’re crazy, you have plenty of company. Hard data is hard to come by, but abundant anecdotal evidence and plain common sense indicates that a significant segment of America’s 70 million grandparents will sooner or later pack up and pick up to be near their grandchildren. When seniors do decide to move, family proximity is a leading motivator. When grandparents get that bee in their bonnet, no distance is too far.
Closeness counts for a whole lot more than many imagine. According to a study by Sara Moorman from Boston College’s Institute on Aging, grandparents and adult grandchildren who have a close bond enjoy improved mental health. “The greater emotional support grandparents and adult grandchildren received from each other, the better their psychological health,” said Moorman.
When grandparents and grandchildren become real resources to each other by performing chores, giving advice or financial help or providing transportation, both generations show fewer symptoms of depression. Moorman says it’s important for grandparents to feel it’s a two-way street. “If a grandparent gets help, but can’t give it, he or she feels bad. Grandparents expect to be able to help their grandchildren, even when their grandchildren are grown, and it’s frustrating and depressing for them to instead be dependent on their grandchildren.”
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
Grandy Girl from Lady Lake, Florida, was having her weekly phone call with granddaughter Maria.
“Guess what, Grandy? I can write!” said Maria.
“That’s wonderful. Tell me what you wrote,” said Grandy.
“I would, but I can’t read too good just yet.”
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.