Aging Parents: How Often Do Grandparents Say Grandchildren Are The Best Gift?



How many older people have become Facebook users
as a way to stay connected with grandchildren?

Since research confirms that connections with others are one of the most important factors in aging well, how fortunate that technology now makes this easier. As we think about holiday gifts for elders who are grandparents–think GRANDCHILDREN

Clearly the ad agencies understand this! Indeed, a current TV ad features a sweet, kind-looking, elderly gentleman, sitting in a chair, proudly telling the world he has a (named) brand of technology so that now he can keep in touch with his grandson. Obviously ad agencies have compiled data showing what appeals to the majority (and makes a good gift if grandparents are instructed how to use it).

This post could be very short, simply suggesting that we use our imaginations, understanding that any gift that provides a connection to grandchildren is what the majority of grandparents want. That said, here are broad examples

Time with grandchildren–in any way we can make that happen, it could be–
–a visit, a phone call, a card (preferably made by them), the latter with an IOU for a planned get-together later on. Example: Older grandchildren can schedule a visit to simply spend time with a grandparent or help with certain tasks that make life better/easier for grandparents; the young ones are perfect for simple companionship.


Anything tangible that brings grandchildren’s presence into grandparents’ lives.
–In the old days this mostly consisted of photos and grandmothers’ charm bracelets…and perhaps a handprint in Plaster of Paris or another work of art grandchildren made in school or elsewhere. Today there are iPads, tablets, photos framed or technology-created—this includes previously written-about Brighton handbags, as well as photos of grandchildren reproduced on other accessories.

Two scientists–one a chemist, the other in research– in our family, stayed with us during the Thanksgiving holiday. I posed the “Why do grandparents say anything related to being with their grandchildren is the best gift?” question.  After the usual–“grandchildren continue the family line/lineage thus are special,” or “grandparents usually have less life stress than when they were parents so can enjoy grandchildren more,” came a surprising explanation from the chemist. One word: oxytocin.

Sometimes known as the “cuddle hormone” or the “love hormone” it surges when people snuggle up or bond socially making them feel good–which happens when grandparents are with their grandchildren. It doesn’t take long to make the association: grandchildren=feel good; and simply receiving a grandchild’s photo or hearing his or her voice can cause this oxytocin surge…this good feeling. So–

With Chanukah almost here and Christmas in the offing, gifts that bring grandparents close to their grandchildren should be winners–making them feel good. And doesn’t that help them age well!

Check out “Newsworthy” (right sidebar). Links to timely tips, information and research from top universities. respected professionals and selected publications–to help parents age well.

Related: Live Science (2015) Facts About the Cuddle Hormone
Technology gifts for Aging Parents (and Grandparents)
See “Great Gifts” tab under header for more ideas.

2 thoughts on “Aging Parents: How Often Do Grandparents Say Grandchildren Are The Best Gift?

  1. I have only one grandchild, now seventeen. He lived a long ferry ride away, but I worked hard to keep in touch while he was growing up. Ferry rides, bus rides, telephone calls, parcels, cards and his visits at my home kept us close. We now communicate by texting. Not as good as a face to face conversation, but it seems it’s the only way to keep in touch with the younger generation!

    • Agreed, Diane. Thanks for sharing. We seem to need to work harder to maintain connections to grandchildren, don’t we? And if we receive a thoughtful gift from them, it means so much. I’m wondering if their gifts mean a great deal more to us than ours to them?

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