Wednesday 17 February 2021

Keeping the relationship with the Grandparents going

These surreal days have seen the world forced to adjust to a new normal. While this has been difficult for many of us, those that are older and more vulnerable have been at greater risk. Some of these people have had to shield or self isolate for up to a year in an effort to avoid Covid-19. While vaccine rollouts are well under way, it been a long time since we've seen each other and this is especially the case with our kids. 

Kids change so much, so quickly.  My eldest is now taller than me (yes, taller and he's only 12!), we've lost a plethora of teeth (the kids not me) and they are developing and maturing in their own way and at their own time.  But they miss many things.. and that includes the time they used to spend ith their grand parents and I know it's the same for them too. Jane was telling me just the other day that her Granddad added to a made up story each time they used to meet... and she was sad as she wasn't sure where the story had got to the last time she'd seen him. :-(

So what are we doing to keep this going?   

Stay social

It’s crucial that we remain in constant contact with the Grandparents.  It can be tempting when I feel stressed to shut myself away and turn the family into an isolated entity. While we can’t be physically close at the moment, we can head onto Zoom or Facetime and still see see them virtually.  We try to set up a regular weekly or fortnightly meetings so that they can see their grandchildren and so we can discuss other aspects of family life rather than finding our existence dominated by coronavirus. 

We may ask what they are up to and do a subtle assessment of their well being. Does their house look clean? Are they eating well? Do they need assistance? With any luck, our meetings will alert us to any help that they may require.

We also chat about what we might do when we can see each other again, but without timelines so there is no pressure, just something good to look forward too.   

Residential care

If your parents are in residential care at the moment, coronavirus can make visits very challenging. While Facetime et al allows us to stay in touch, your parents can begin to feel isolated in the extreme. Stay in touch with the staff and ask for updates regularly. I know people who are in contact with the homes their parents are in all the time, way more than they said it was before and some who even have contacts with capable nursing home abuse lawyers just in case.

It's scary with the news in the press about  Covid outbreaks in homes, but by keeping in touch you can hopefully know what's going on.  

Encourage them to get outdoors

As the weather improves we can talk about sitting out in a garden which can make us all feel a little less trapped in our own homes.  Hopefully though soon, lockdown will start to ease and we will be able to venture out again.  However, grandparents may still be very nervous.  Just because the government has stated that it is safe, doesn’t mean that your parents will feel confident. Help them get into the great outdoors by walking with them to their local park at a social distance. Being outside is less stressful than venturing to the shops or hot footing it to the grocery store. 

Being outdoors is proven to relieve stress and anxieties. Greenery and trees can elevate dopamine levels and negate the effect of the stress hormone, cortisol. Being in the park will also give our parents a chance to soak up the rays of the sun and regular their circadian rhythm, helping them to sleep better at night. It is incredible how taking short walks every day can boost mood and make you feel happier and more positive.

We can't wait to see our folks again and I know they and the kids have really missed each other.  Really it's about letting them and our kids know that they will get to see each other soon and we need to take care of ourselves and them in the meantime.   

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