Saturday, September 23, 2023

Scatters to the Four Winds Part II


Last Saturday I wrote about how families are being scattered because of the economy and the children do not get to bond with their cousins, aunts, and uncles. No one know what will happen when the glue that holds society together dissolves.

Well there is another side effect to being scattered around the country… aging family members.

As the grandparents, aunts, and uncle age they are getting more isolated. As were age we become more isolated, my grandmother lived with us until she passed away… now? With their children states away grandparents used to travel on holidays and birthdays to be with their grandchildren. But what happens when the grandparents are states away and they can’t drive anymore?

Grandparents are becoming more isolated and end up in a nursing home by themselves… alone. The grandparents never becomes family with their grandchildren. They only become a voice on the phone and someone they see once or twice a year.

I asked Google’s Bard about this.
Are grandparents becoming more socially isolated from their grandchildren?

There is some evidence to suggest that grandparents are becoming more socially isolated from their grandchildren. For example, a 2019 study by the Pew Research Center found that 15% of grandparents said they saw their grandchildren at least once a week, down from 23% in 2010. The study also found that 12% of grandparents said they had not seen their grandchildren in the past year, up from 7% in 2010.

There are a number of factors that may contribute to this trend. One factor is that families are increasingly geographically dispersed. This makes it more difficult for grandparents to see their grandchildren on a regular basis, especially if they live in different states or countries.

Another factor is that parents are increasingly busy and time-pressed. This can make it difficult for them to find time to schedule visits with grandparents, or to bring their children to see grandparents on a regular basis.

Finally, changing social norms may also play a role. In the past, grandparents were often expected to be primary caregivers for their grandchildren. However, this is no longer as common. Today, many grandparents are working full-time or have other commitments that make it difficult for them to provide regular childcare.

It is important to note that not all grandparents are socially isolated from their grandchildren. Many grandparents have close and loving relationships with their grandchildren. However, the trend towards social isolation is concerning, as it can have negative consequences for both grandparents and grandchildren.

Grandparents who are socially isolated from their grandchildren may experience feelings of loneliness, sadness, and loss. They may also miss out on the many benefits of grandparenting, such as the opportunity to pass on their knowledge and wisdom to the next generation, and to experience the joy of watching their grandchildren grow and learn.

Grandchildren who are socially isolated from their grandparents may also miss out on important benefits. Grandparents can provide emotional support, guidance, and love to their grandchildren. They can also help to transmit family traditions and values.

There are a number of things that can be done to help reduce social isolation among grandparents. One important step is to raise awareness of the issue. Parents, grandparents, and other community members should all be aware of the importance of maintaining close relationships between grandparents and grandchildren.

Another important step is to make it easier for grandparents to see their grandchildren on a regular basis. This may involve scheduling regular visits, or using technology such as video chat to stay in touch.

Finally, it is important to create opportunities for grandparents to get involved in their grandchildren's lives. This may involve volunteering at their school or extracurricular activities, or simply attending their sporting events and recitals.

By taking steps to reduce social isolation among grandparents, we can help to ensure that all generations of families have the opportunity to benefit from close and loving relationships.
Grandparents are more then free babysitters, they pass family values and history down the generations.
This is a great social experiment that is not bounded by limits nor time, when or where will it end no one knows. Families shouldn't be just for holidays, weddings, or funerals. Families should be about shared memories.

No one know what will happen when the glue that holds society together dissolves.


Scatters to the Four Winds Part I


  1. Another increasingly common phenomenon is that of adult children "divorcing" themselves from their parents and/or extended families. It was a growing trend that seems to have taken a big jump during and since Covid and the social unrest of 2020. My husband and I have found ourselves in that situation with our son. We are grateful to have our daughter and her family living next door. We see those grandchildren nearly every day.

  2. I wonder about priorities on both sides of the coin. I paid the tuition for my wife who returned to school after graduating from high school thirty years prior, tuition for our son and daughter, five years of college for one grandchild and sunk $55K into a guaranteed tuition program for an elementary school grandchild. Always been asked what I want for birthday, Father's Day or Christmas, and the response has been take me out for a coffee; not even Starbucks which I hate. Be nice to get that cup of coffee.