Wellness Words September 2013

Wellness Words September 2013

HealthLink Littauer’s


Submitted by Wendy Chirieleison, MS Ed

Community Health Educator


In Honor Of Grandparents Day:  Communicating With Your Grandchildren

Many of us are fortunate to have fond memories of baking cookies with Grandma, watching the game with Grandpa, or maybe even singing an old time song with Great Grandma.  Today, with the hustle and bustle of the day, it’s easy to let time slip away from us…time that we could be spending cultivating relationships with our Grandparents.

The AARP Foundation has developed the Grandparent’s Information Center that provides helpful information on the roles that Grandparents play in their family’s lives, how to improve communication between Grandparents and grandchildren, and tips to improve communication in long-distance relationships.  Results from AARP’s 2012 member survey are below:


Grandparents play many important roles in the family that no one else can fulfill because they have experienced things that we can only read about:

Preserving Family Heritage

Grandparents share stories from the past about their lives, current news about what is happening with family today, and help keep traditions alive.

Special Friends

Grandparents report that the best thing about being a Grandparent is not being a parent.  This leaves more time to enjoy conversing with grandchildren about school, daily life, and even spirituality.


Grandparents teach moral values like good manners, respect, and strong work ethic.  They also impart skills like gardening, cooking, sewing, fishing, sports, and even whittling.

Life Long Learners

Though they have a lot of information to pass on to their grandchildren, Grandparents can learn a lot from their grandchildren such as staying healthy and physically active, being up to date on music and fashion, and learning how to use technology.


These tips can make the communication process easier:

  • Create a family archive filled with report cards, pictures, news clippings, etc. from past and present that you can use to start conversations.
  • Ask parents about important things that are coming up for your grandchild like games, tests, and celebrations and ask about them.
  • Ask your grandchildren if there is anything that they would like to learn from you, and think about what you would like to learn from your grandchildren.  You can then teach each other a new skill.


According to the survey, 54% of grandparents live 200 or more miles away from their grandchildren.  While distance can make it difficult to foster good communication, technology and modern means can make connecting easier:

  • Make a tape or recording of yourself telling family stories or reading a book.
  • Set up a regular schedule for phone calls or emails.  Computer programs like Skype let you connect via the internet for free.  If you have a camera you can communicate face to face!
  • Send cards and photos to each other.  Grandchildren can include their height.
  • Plan visits whenever possible.

For more information, visit aarp.org/grandparents or contact HealthLink Littauer at 736-1120.  You can e-mail us at healthlink@nlh.org, see our website at www.nlh.org, or visit our wellness center at 213 Harrison Street Ext. in Johnstown, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.  We’re your community health & wellness service of Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home.