There has never been a bet­ter time to be Granny or Grandad

It’s time to cel­e­brate grand­par­ents, as David Wake­field, for­mer jour­nal­ist with the East­ern Daily Press and now Age UK Nor­folk vol­un­teer (and a grand­par­ent) sug­gests.

Let's Talk - - Contents -

Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 7, is Grand­par­ents’ Day in the UK this year, and it’s a highly im­por­tant date so far as Age UK Nor­folk is con­cerned. The char­ity plays a vi­tal role in help­ing older peo­ple; of­fer­ing ad­vice on a wide range of is­sues in­clud­ing ben­e­fits and care, com­bat­ting lone­li­ness with a be­friend­ing ser­vice, op­er­at­ing three de­men­tia cafes across the county and sup­port to en­able older peo­ple to re­main in­de­pen­dent for longer in their own home.

Above all Age UK Nor­folk val­ues the role that grand­par­ents can play, and many men and women in this age bracket have also be­come vol­un­teers, giv­ing years of ex­pe­ri­ence and com­pas­sion into vi­tal ar­eas where help is needed. A few years ago I joined this army of vol­un­teers, and was able to gain a valu­able in­sight in to what they do; my role as a me­dia vol­un­teer led me to speak to many who have ben­e­fited from the work these helpers pro­vide.

I be­came a grand­par­ent for the first time 14 years ago, when I was near­ing re­tire­ment from a busy and of­ten stress­ful job. When I did fin­ish full-time work I was able (and will­ing) to step in to of­fer care for our new baby on some of the days when our daugh­ter-in-law was not work­ing, with my (still work­ing) wife us­ing her days off and free time to help. Al­though I had been very much a “hand­son” fa­ther, the re­turn to chang­ing nap­pies, sort­ing out after­noon sleeps and food and drink was quite a change from my nor­mal rou­tine, but it was some­thing I was de­lighted to do. And it was all re­peated a few years later when Luke’s sis­ter, Ava, came along.

Not that I am any dif­fer­ent to any other grand­par­ent in this re­spect; but if noth­ing else, Grand­par­ents’ Day can pro­vide a re­minder of what we can con­trib­ute in terms of well­be­ing and ed­u­ca­tion of chil­dren within our fam­i­lies. Re­cent re­search re­veals that twofifths (45%) of grand­par­ents look af­ter their grand­chil­dren once a week or more, with four per cent look­ing af­ter them ev­ery day – thus it is clear that child­care is one way in which grand­par­ents make a very large con­tri­bu­tion.

But, so too do grand­chil­dren en­rich our lives. They give us mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ences in re­turn for what we do. Yes, we’re seen as a “soft touch” in cer­tain ar­eas, such as bed­times (“Mum says I can stay up un­til 10pm ... ”) but that’s what be­ing a grand­par­ent is all about.

So, let’s cel­e­brate!

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