Yesterday was National Grandparents Day, and I was fortunate to spend nearly a full day with each of my living grandparents. Both my mother’s dad (96 years) and my father’s mom (91 years) live with them, and my mom is a full-time caregiver. They bring a richness to our lives that can never be replaced, and today Homecare Advocate is paying special tribute to all of those Mamaws, Papaws, Grammys, and Grandfathers out there who have paved paths for future generations and given us so very much to be grateful for. As President Obama issued in his Grandparents Proclamation, “Grandparents hold a special place in our families, serving as elders, caregivers, and sources of lasting inspiration. On National Grandparents Day, we honor the loving presence of these mentors who have contributed immeasurably to the strength of our families and our Nation.”
The Boomer Generation can now add one more descriptor to its lengthy repertoire: Grandparent. In fact, over 50% of current grandparents are boomers, and that number is expected to increase to 60% by 2015. Roughly 1/3 of our population are grandparents and the number is growing. The word “grandparent” may conjure images of placid, Buick-driving, lovable seniors who pinch your cheeks and give homemade sweaters at Christmas, but this diverse group of older Americans are breaking all of the barriers of the old stereotypes. Today’s grandparent is active, involved in family life, and loves to travel. They are the most affluent age group in America, controlling 75% of the wealth. Grandparents today use their money to increase their quality of life and often help with their grandchildren. As a matter of fact, they spend a whopping $52 billion on their grandkids each year!
Grandparents have an active role in their families’ lives, in part due to the growing number of families like mine across the country who are now opting for multi-generational housing. Multigenerational living arrangements have increased over 30% from 2000 to 2009 with 6.6 million families now living under multi-generational roofs. However, this is not a new concept; 57% of seniors lived with their families back in 1900. Though the economy has played an important role in the rise of multi-generational housing, there are social and health benefits as well. Even the White House has followed suite with President Barack Obama’s mother-in-law living with them.
HISTORY IN THE TELLING…
Grandparents share a lifetime of experiences and teach us about the journey ahead. They pass down the knowledge they’ve acquired over the years and help us understand things from a different perspective. They’re the root of our family traditions and act as our family historian. They are the building blocks upon which future generations will rise, and we are all so very grateful to have them in our lives.
What special stories do you have with your grandparents?
“Grandparents can do more for us than anyone else in the world; they sprinkle stardust in our eyes.” -Alex Haley