It’s difficult to overstate the important role many grandparents play in the lives of their grandchildren. They offer wisdom and comfort, and often serve as a paragon of active senior living. But while they play an important role in the lives of many adults, the contributions grandparents make can sometimes be overlooked. With Sept. 11 being recognized as National Grandparents Day, it is the perfect time for everyone to tell, and show, their older loved ones how much they appreciate everything they’ve done.
Origins of the holiday
National Grandparents Day has not been around for that long. It got its start in West Virginia, when Marian McQuade, an advocate for the elderly, pitched the idea to other members of the state’s Commission on Aging and Nursing Home Licensing Board. What started as a way to draw attention to the issues facing lonely seniors living in nursing homes and similar facilities has grown into something much larger. The first Grandparents Day was celebrated in West Virginia in 1973, and just five years later it had spread across the country when President Jimmy Carter signed a bill establishing the first Sunday after Labor day as National Grandparents Day, beginning in 1979.
Although it has been around for less than 40 years, National Grandparents Day will likely increase in importance in the coming years as the population gets older. According to the Administration on Aging, the number of adults 65 and older is expected to hit 72.1 million by 2030 – more than double the amount there was in 2000.
Celebrate the right way
There are a number of ways for grandchildren to show their grandparents how important they are, but one of the most effective ways is to simply spend time with them. Gathering all the members of the family for a get-together, whether it is at a retirement living community or elsewhere, is often all that they need. Grandchildren looking to go the extra mile can consider creating a family tree to give to their grandparents, bringing them flowers to brighten up their home, or even just watching their favorite movie with them. Whatever route grandchildren take, it is sure to warm their grandparents’ hearts and strengthen the special bond that only grandparents and grandchildren hold.