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Celebrating Grandparents Day

September 7 Is Grandparents Day

Make a Senior's Day!

The original goal when establishing Grandparents Day was to educate the country's youth as to the value of our senior citizens throughout history. The year was 1978 and yes, things have improved since then, and so this celebrated tradition continues.

When you are a grandparent,
being alone or forgotten on Grandparents Day
is kind of like being single and being alone on Valentine's Day.
Not a great feeling.

 

Playing with hatsPersonally, one of my favorite memories is being in the garden with my grandparents. I consider myself one of the most fortunate people in the world. I grew up in rural America and have an amazingly close-knit family. My grandparents helped to shape who I am today, who my children are, and who their children, my grandchildren, will be.

But, you don't have to grow up in a rural area in order to have these priceless experiences. If Grandma or Grandpa lives in an assisted living center or in a nursing home with a patio, you can put together and help them nurture a small container garden. If, however, they still have a home, there are infinite opportunities for engaging seniors and for getting everyone in the family involved. Something as simple as mowing and edging the lawn or raking leaves is valued highly by someone who is getting older and finding it harder to do these chores on their own.

Grandparents who are used to gardening regularly
can find themselves feeling incredibly sad.

 

The inability to get out in the sunlight and play in the dirt can have long-reaching emotional and physical impact. A simple activity such as gardening keeps the old folks (no disrespect intended) moving, gives you something in common with them, provides a reason to visit on a regular basis, and will bring wide smiles to aging faces.

The physical activity, even if very limited, can be beneficial to those in the winter of their lives, while we youngsters and our children can do the bulk of the work. Watching a healthy garden grow, harvesting one's own vegetables or even cutting blossoms for vases can result in comforting feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction.

iStock_000017477658XSmallExhaustive studies have shown time in the sun and the subsequent exposure to Vitamin D prevents osteoporosis, meaning fewer falls and bone fractures in the elderly. It also results in a substantial increase in serotonin levels in the brain, a naturally occurring antidepressant. Anything those of us who are physically fit can do to ease their mind and prolong their enjoyment of life is a gift of immeasurable value.

And it goes both ways! While working in the garden, you can talk about nearly anything. With your hands in the dirt and your mind otherwise free, it is somehow easier to talk. You and your family will have the opportunity to connect with someone who has lived many years longer than yourself and who lived at a time before you were born.  Most seniors will appreciate the questions you ask and the observations you make, while there is no doubt any senior will be thankful for the time you and your family have taken from your busy schedule to spend a little time with them.

My staff and my family and I encourage you to go out and make a senior's day: you are guaranteed to be enriched in return.

With all sincerity,

Joseph Stutzman

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