I think I am closer to my Maternal Grandmother than I was even to my own mother. She spent a good deal of my life raising me and since my mom passed away, my Grandmother really is more of a mother to me and also my best friend. After years of training from my family I have recently been shocked and appalled by the lack of respect that most of my generation as well as those after me regard their older family members. So I have taken it upon myself to write this list from both experience and also from that old fashioned idea called manners.
1. Always offer to help…whether it is dishes, setting up her new DVD player or mowing her lawn. Be ready and prepared to help her with anything and everything without asking for anything in return. This is the “old” way of doing things and is appreciated by the older generations when they do not have to ask for help.
2. Compliment! Make sure to compliment Grandma on her dinner, new dress, or perhaps the new knick knack that you had not noticed before. Grandmas are people too and they like compliments.
3. Ask to see what she has been doing to keep herself busy. Does she garden, knit, crochet or scrapbook? Perhaps she is a golfer and you could go play a round with her or if she likes to shop, take her shopping! Does she sew? Start a conversation about the different fashion fads she has lived though, what was her favorite?
4. Let her tell you stories. Older people love to “remember the good old days,” and sometimes they just need someone to listen to them. You never know, perhaps you will find out some helpful family information and wisdom or a great joke to pass along!
5. Play some games. There is not one older person that I have met that does not love a good round of cards or dominoes. Even my Grandfather who had a severe stroke plays with us despite his other limitations.
6. Ask to look through her old photographs. Become familiar with how she grew up visually. Not everyone had a camera back in their day so even one or two small pictures would be grounds to start a great conversation.
7. Take your own pictures. Life is short and precious and even young healthy people cannot guarantee tomorrow. Take pictures every time you are together so those memories can live on and on!
8. Respect her beliefs. Remember, she is older than you and has lived longer than you. If she believes a certain way, there is most likely a good reason for it. Do not be quick to get her into your new fad or ideas, instead listen and learn, apply wisdom and be encouraging to her.
9. Watch your mouth! A high school dropout who has a great grasp on the appropriate language (as I have readers from all over the world) will be more successful in Grandma’s eyes than someone who has several degrees but chooses to express themselves with cursing, slander, or profanity. In short, remember your manners.
10. Hugs!!! You simply cannot get enough hugs from Grandma’s! My Grandmother’s, both of them, hug like no others. Each hug is unique and I just love them and it is hard to let go. Be sure that your visit involves two hugs at the very least!
I want to hear from you…what are your favorite memories visiting your Grandparents?
If you no longer have your own Grandparents, have you thought of adopting some from a local nursing home?
What are your thoughts?