Grandkids are the elixir of life!
I thought this week, as the weather reports many of you are experiencing snow in the Mid-West and tornados in the south & east, I might send a little sunshine your way!
About six-o’clock in the evening, the phone begins a familiar daily routine. It’s ringing and it’s FaceTime, and Sandi will usually will say, “It’s the Grands”. Could be the Trent’s, Crider’s, Helvering’s Jarrell’s, or Peslis’ as we’ve now expanded from four to eight Grandchildren.
Yes…during this COVID-19 pandemic…four of our daughters added newbies to our happy Tribe! Thatcher is our oldest is 7, followed by Maddie and Aiden at 4. Eliza Jo is 18 months, and then Carden at 10 months, Nora at 7 months, Jack at 4 months & Presley in at 3 months.
Popi & Nani, as we call ourselves, are quick to drop whatever we’re doing when the Grands call…as that’s just what every Grandparent does! We often joke, that if we knew how fun this phase of life was, we’d have started here first? Still trying to figure that out.
However, the traditional roles of Grandparenting, much like our society, are changing rapidly as a recent report from U.S. News states, nearly 3 million children in the United States are being raised by grandparents. Further, these children are much more likely to have experienced traumatic events that will influence their development.
The stats show a "history of adversity" for these kids, leaving them with "potentially less opportunity" than kids raised by their parents, said senior researcher Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Northwell Health's Cohen Children's Medical Center, in Manhasset, N.Y.
Here are some of the adverse experiences common to kids being raised by Grandparents:
Having their family torn apart by divorce or separation (more than four times more common).
Observing physical violence between parents or adults (more than four times as likely).
Being a victim of or witnessing neighborhood violence (more than twice as likely).
Living with someone who was mentally ill, suicidal or severely depressed (twice as common).
However, some prominent people have shown that being raised by a grandparent can be the launching pad for success -- among them presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, comedians Carol Burnett and Jamie Foxx, and musicians Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson and 50 Cent.¹
Here’s some good news...Grandparents appear to be up to the task!
In a recent post from the TODAY show, Tips for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, here are 5 tips aimed at navigating the financial considerations of Grandparenting:
Seek out support and information. Even if support groups aren’t normally your cup of tea, it’s more important than you may realize for you to connect with other people who understand what you’re experiencing.
Don’t blow through all your savings. Many dedicated grandparents end up impoverishing themselves paying for their grandchildren’s food, clothing, medical care and other needs.
Determine your eligibility for help. An easy way to see what kind of government support might exist for you is to fill out a confidential questionnaire at BenefitsCheckUp.org.
Consider your legal status. Ask a family law attorney to help you determine whether or not it would be beneficial for you to become your grandchild’s legal guardian.
Pursue tax credits. Adults who are raising children and living on low or fixed incomes can apply for the Earned Income Tax Credit.²
In a 2018 research survey done by AARP titled, 2018 Grandparents Today National Survey, the data shows some interesting and encouraging trends in today’s changing roles of Grandparenting:
Grandparents represent a strong base with great spending power.
Since 2001, the number of grandparents has grown by 24 percent (56 million to 70 million). By age 65, almost all (96%) are grandparents. In 2030, one in every five residents will be age 652 — increasing the number of grandparents even more.
The youngest grandparents are about 38 years of age, with the average age at first grandchild being 50 (an increase of two years since 2011).
Grandparents spend an average of $2,562 annually on their grandchildren, totaling $179 billion per year.
The fundamentals of the grandparenting role remain the same, with grandchildren upholding respect for their grandparents and grandparents sharing wisdom and guidance.
Over half of grandparents consider themselves a source of wisdom and provide a moral compass on issues such as education, morals, and values.
Grandparents take care of their grandchildren by babysitting, with one in ten living in the same household with their grandchildren, and 5 percent of those being the primary caregiver.
A majority of grandparents view their parenting style to be superior to parents of today. In fact, over half agree that spanking is an effective form of discipline, in comparison to 4 percent of parents who do it today.
While distance and busy schedules are a challenge, grandparents are finding ways to spend time with and to connect with their grandchildren.
Distance is the biggest barrier to seeing grandchildren. Over half of grandparents have at least one grandchild who lives more than 200 miles away, and about a third live more than 50 miles from their closest grandchild.
Four in ten grandparents today are in the workforce. Their busy schedules as well as the schedules of their children and grandchildren are the second biggest barrier to spending time with their grandchildren.
Grandparents also seek additional information about connecting with their grandchildren and staying relevant in their lives. Grandparents welcome online media sources for grandparenting information, although they also consult traditional media.³
As we continue our weekly focus on Spirit, Mind & Body, I’ll let my favorite findings from the National Grandparents Survey, serve to guide our Spirit focus this week:
Grandkids are the elixir of life! The greater emotional support grandparents and grandchildren receive from one another, the better their psychological and physiological health. With these two astounding results:
Grandparents agree that having grandchildren has a positive impact on mental health.
Grandchildren also make grandparents more sociable and more physically active.³
Bottom-line: See, call, visit, FaceTime and be involved with your Grandchildren’s lives…it’s not only good for them…it’s good for you, your health and your Spirit
Equally important for Grandparents keeping up with those Grandkids, not to mention staying up on current trends and information, is keeping the Mind clear and sharp. WebMD published some great findings on Brain-Boosting Beverages, here are 4 easy-to-find and guaranteed-to-sharpen-our-focus beverages:⁴
Coffee: The caffeine in coffee really does make you more alert. A cup of joe can also help you concentrate and boost your mood when you've got the Monday blues. Plus, lifelong coffee drinkers may have a lower risk of stroke and Alzheimer's disease.
Green Tea: Like coffee, tea can make you feel more alert. It may help tune out distractions like the noisy co-worker in the next cube too. There's also evidence that the green stuff improves memory and attention. Experts can't point to one component that makes these leaves so brain healthy. It's likely the blend of healthy plant chemicals it contains.
Green Smoothie: Just one serving of greens a day can help slow mental decline as you age, research finds. Spinach, kale, and collard greens are rich in brain-friendly nutrients like folate and lutein. But you don't need to eat them in salad form, or even on a plate, to reap their benefits.
Hot Chocolate: Cocoa is rich in flavanols, plant-based substances that help improve attention, processing speed, and memory. A cup of this rich brew might also protect against mental decline, especially in people who are at higher risk for dementia. And careful to not overdo it as Chocolate is high in fat, calories, and sugar.
Bottom-line drink to your minds content…and see the WebMD full article for more brain-boosting beverages
As Grandparents age, while keeping up with the Grands at heart may be easier, keeping up with their pace will take an active lifestyle, for sure! The CDC states very plainly that as we age, physical activity is essential to healthy aging! ⁵
As an older adult, regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It can prevent many of the health problems that seem to come with age. It also helps your muscles grow stronger so you can keep doing your day-to-day activities without becoming dependent on others.
Keep in mind, some physical activity is better than none at all. Your health benefits will also increase with the more physical activity that you do.
Older adults with chronic conditions should understand whether and how their conditions affect their ability to do regular physical activity safely. When older adults cannot do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week (for example, 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week) because of chronic conditions, they should be as physically active as their abilities and conditions allow.
Keep in mind, some physical activity is better than none. Older adults who sit less and do any amount of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity gain some health benefits. Your health benefits will also increase with the more physical activity that you do.
Bottom line: Older adults should move more and sit less throughout the day. See the full CDC article at the CDC link.
We hope that you’ll stop by and peruse our online store as we have some offerings sure to help Grandparents stay connected. One of our newest items, the Lovebox, is a simple and fun wi-fi connected device that brings loved ones together, regardless of the distance between them. You can send messages from your heart to family, friends, and loved ones – anytime, anywhere in the world. Sandi & I have them for all our Grands!⁶
Remember at Conizo, we seek to be the leading innovator and provider of intergenerational experiences, resources, products and services because we believe that the wisdom of one generation can intersect with the hope of another. With our shared values of faith, quality, community, passion, optimism and innovation, we hope to be a part of Grandparents life-story-sharing from one generation to the next.
Thanks for stopping by and remember…Live Life Well!
U.S. News and World Report, US Grandparents are Raising Millions of Kids, and it’s Tough, Aug. 4, 2020, https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2020-08-04/us-grandparents-are-raising-millions-of-kids-and-its-tough#:~:text=%22Grandparents%20who%20step%20in%20and,being%20raised%20by%20their%20grandparents.
Today, 10 Tips for Raising Grandchildren, Laura T. Coffey, https://www.today.com/money/10-tips-grandparents-raising-grandchildren-wbna16876875
AARP, 2018 Grand Parents Today National Survey, https://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/research/surveys_statistics/life-leisure/2019/aarp-grandparenting-study.doi.10.26419-2Fres.00289.001.pdf
WebMD, Brain Boosting Beverages, https://www.webmd.com/brain/ss/slideshow-brain-boosting-beverages
The CDC, Physical Activity is Essential to Healthy Aging, https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/older_adults/index.htm
The LOVEBOX, Conizo Online Store, https://www.conizo.com/product-page/lovebox-color-and-photo