These days, our families are seeing a growing gap between the oldest and youngest family members. Improvements in health care and overall quality of life have increased our life expectancy, but have also presented a challenge in connecting grandparents, great grandparents and even great-great grandparents with their younger relatives. Also, with the advent of travel and technology, our generations are more spread out now than ever before. To help bridge the divide between children, parents and grandparents, the Legacy Project, an initiative that encourages relationships between generations, offers 12 tips:
- Start in the Kitchen — The kitchen is in reality the heart of the home, and research shows that it is the most relaxed place. Baking cookies or simply interacting in the kitchen can create a loving memory.
- Have Your Own Family Book Club — Choose a new book every month, and for family members that live faraway, mail a new book to them once a month. And don’t forget to talk about it!
- Use the Power of Story — Read aloud as a family, and share memories or stories from your own life. This can start important conversations and helps children get to know their older loved ones.
- Make It Picture Perfect — Have a family scrapbook, and refer to photos when recalling family memories and stories. You can also create a family Facebook page and post photos for family members that live far away.
- Involve All Ages in a Collection — Whether it’s rocks, coins or baseball cards, a shared family interest encourages generations to talk and interact with each other.
- Give a Keepsake — Explain or write down the story behind the keepsake to encourage children and grandchildren to learn more about their older relatives.
- Remember Two Small Words — “Thank You.” Parents should encourage sending thank you notes when receiving even the smallest gifts from a grandparent or older loved one. Not only does this teach kids an important social skill, but also makes grandparents feel appreciated.
- Bestow Your Furniture — Assign a special piece of furniture to each child or grandchild for them to receive in the future, making them feel important.
- Encourage Family Rituals — Even the smallest moments can make the biggest memories.
- Share Your “Best Memory” — This can often surprise the person it’s about, leading to helpful talks in even in the most strained relationships.
- Interview an Elder — Children are creatures of questions, and by interviewing an elder they can learn not only about them but about their own family past. If you can, record either video or audio of your older loved one.
- Hug Someone You Love — The older a person gets, the fewer hugs they sometimes receive. Everyone needs a little love, so remember to give plenty of hugs to our loved ones of all ages!
These are just a few suggestions on how we can relate to the different generations in our family and build lasting bonds that give us insight into our heritage and history. At Cypress HomeCare Solutions, family and loved ones are our most important focus, and we strive to provide care for not just our clients but for their circle of support as well. If you have any questions or are looking for assistance, please call us at 602-264-8009.