The role of grandparents in society has changed dramatically over the generations. As the child of older parents, I only had one remaining grandparent remaining by the time I was born. My memories of Gran are few and far between, really only prodded by home videos and family photos. I always think what a shame this was as my older siblings, who all new her much better than I, have very fond memories of her. However her role as a grandmother is so different from that of the grandparents of today.
With around 5.3 million working mothers in the UK, and the expense of official childcare routes often deemed too expensive, grandparents have been rolled out of retirement to care for the next generation. I always remember one faithful grandfather trying to keep up with the small army of micro scooters he seemed to be in charge of every morning near my old flat – the sight always warmed my soul.
But do we expect too much from our parents when it comes to the care of our children? They can’t really say no can they but let’s face it, I doubt many grandparents imagined their retirement would be controlled by the school run and music monkeys…
This week in the UK we have ‘Silver Week’ and increasingly important awareness initiative, supporting not only grandparents but all elderly members of the community, numbers of which have increased by 149% and 69% for men and women respectfully over the past 40 years. Despite the exhausting responsibility of child minding for the country’s grandparents, maybe in comparison to the loneliness felt by so many of the elderly, this is a small price to pay for the joy it is to have family around you.
So when you have a moment this week, take time to say a proper thank you to a helpful granny or gramps, or pop in with some shopping and visit an elderly member of your community. For more information on Silver Week please visit The Silver Line