The relationship between grandparent and grandchild can be a remarkably special one, and it’s a relationship Schlegel Villages wants to celebrate in the lead-up to Grandparent’s Day Sept. 8.
Perhaps it’s the fact that the pressures of parenthood have lessened in the minds of a grandparent that they’re able to give of themselves more freely to the children of their children. And likewise, a grandchild isn’t constrained by the regular, daily regimen of life with their parent and are thus free to connect with the grandparent on a different level.
Grace Di Marchi has always has a strong relationship with her grandparents, and she’s grown particularly close with her grandfather, Aldo, in the past few years. Part of the reason for this deepening relationship, she says, is the time they now spend together in Brampton’s Village of Sandalwood Park, where he has lived for the past two years.
She began volunteering in high school in long-term care settings before choosing to study social work with a focus on gerontology. She began volunteering more at that point, and she is now often found at Sandalwood Park supporting recreation programs or helping the pub nights run smoothly.
But it’s the time she spends with her grandfather she enjoys the most. She was always close with her grandparents, she says, and as a child she often stayed with them, simply because she loved to be close. Her grandfather was the quiet one as his lovely wife was always the host, leading conversations and making sure all was well with whomever they welcomed into their home.
When Grace’s grandmother suffered a broken hip, Grace and her parents welcomed her Aldo into their home for a time, and that’s when Grace began to connect with him on a new level. Slight dementia had begun to progress at this point and in the process, he began to open up more than he ever had before.
“My relationship with him kind of blossomed,” Grace says. “When he moved in with us, suddenly there was this whole other side of this man that I really didn’t see before.”
She learned more about his life growing up with his siblings and she discovered certain things he enjoyed that she’d never known – he loves to sing, for example, and he loves old television shows and loves to read. They would often take time to read stories back and forth to each other and now that he lives at Sandalwood Park, the knowledge she gained helps keep that connection strong when she spends time with him.
“Our relationship hasn’t really stopped growing,” Grace says. “I would say even more so, the bonding has increased.”
The bonds between grandparent and grandchild are special indeed, and within the Villages, grandparents and great grandparents often thrive with their extended families. Similar relationships are also found among team members and volunteers, who connect with residents who may not have such relationships close at hand.
We want to celebrate them all with our Grandest Grandparent contest. Visit the contest page here to learn how you can tell us why yours is the Grandest Grandparent.