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It’s no secret that being a grandma is the best gig on earth, but even the best titles come with occasional problems and struggles. While I hesitate to paint anything about grandmothering in a negative light, I know that issues can arise, as they have for both dear friends and myself.
To help you combat some of these issues as they arise (sometimes even before they occur!), I made a list of 11 solutions to everyday struggles that you may encounter. I hope they help you as much as they have helped me!
You can also check out my article on common Grandma worries or join Grandma’s Circle to connect with others just like you who are more than happy to help.
1. Staying up-to-date with the latest technology and trends
The technology gap between grandmothers and grandchildren is real, and let me tell you, it can be pretty daunting. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to bridge this gap, beginning with online tutorials or in-person workshops that will teach you about the latest gadgets, how to use specific technology and ways modern tech can improve your life.
I have an article all about how technology can improve your life, but there are countless resources just by Googling!
Remember: If all else fails, you can always ask your grandchild for help!
No two generations are alike, so how should we bond with our Millennial/Generation Z/Alpha grands?
The entire Devoted Grandma website is pretty much dedicated to this very problem!
Overcome these challenges through open communication, empathy, and a willingness to learn from each other. Take time to listen to your grandchild and to ask questions. Share your own stories, as they can help you connect and maybe even help your grandchild with a problem they’re having. Be open to learning new things and express interest to your grandchild that you want to engage in a shared hobby or activity together (like cooking or hiking).
3. Dealing with long-distance grandparenting challenges
I consulted my friends on this one, and here’s what they had to say.
4. Adapting to change
Change is inevitable, but it seems to happen even faster in this day and age. With the world changing by the minute, how should a grandma keep up? One great way to cope with change is to lean on the support of loved ones, like your children or grandchildren. Sharing feelings and experiences can create a sense of togetherness and provide valuable insights on how to adapt. Having a positive attitude also helps navigate new and sometimes scary things.
To do this, I like to try new hobbies, attend classes, and join social clubs to help me stay active and engaged while also building a solid support network.
5. Grief and loss
Much like taxes, grief and loss are a part of life that most of us will have to experience at one time or another. Just like adapting to change, ensure a strong support system is in place. They can be incredibly healing and help bring people closer during difficult times.
In addition to leaning on loved ones, you can (and should!) explore local support groups, therapy, or spiritual guidance to help navigate the grieving process.
6. Staying physically active and maintaining health
Maintaining your physical health is very important, as it can both improve your quality of life and add years to it. Eat well, take your vitamins, get at least 7 hours of sleep each night, and drink 8+ glasses of water daily. Obviously, there is more to maintaining your health, which I detail more in this section.
7. Budgeting and avoiding financial strains
As we age, many of us encounter budgeting challenges and financial strains that can feel overwhelming at times. I’m here to tell you that a bit of planning can go a long way, so start creating a comprehensive budget that includes all income sources, such as pensions or Social Security, alongside expenses like housing, groceries, and healthcare. Consider cutting non-essential costs and seeking out senior discounts to help stretch each dollar further. Reaching out to a financial advisor or local senior center can provide valuable guidance and resources to navigate this journey.
8. Keeping yourself and your family physically safe
One of my biggest stressors as I age is my physical safety, as I know that, as a senior, I am more prone to injury, which I have no time or patience for!
Creating a secure home environment is the first step to staying physically safe. Start by ensuring adequate lighting throughout your living space, especially in stairways and hallways, to prevent potential falls. Installing smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms can provide an added layer of protection. Another great way to stay safe is to stay connected with friends, family, or neighbors, fostering a sense of community and a support system for when help is needed. In addition, utilize available resources, such as local senior centers or community organizations, both of which can offer valuable guidance on enhancing safety.
9. Avoiding scams and fraud
It’s a sad fact that seniors are a prime target for scams, so it is vital to stay vigilant and always follow your gut! A great rule of thumb is that if something seems too good to be true or makes no sense, it is best to avoid it. Stay up-to-date on common scams and educate yourself on how to recognize red flags, such as high-pressure tactics or requests for sensitive information. Remember that it’s perfectly fine to step back and consult with loved ones or trusted advisors before making any decisions. Set up strong passwords for online accounts and never share them with anyone. Keep lines of communication with family and friends open to create a support network that fosters a sense of security and collective vigilance.
10. Staying sharp and avoiding cognitive decline
Just like physical health, our mental health can decline as we age, so we must keep our minds in tip-top shape. Engaging in mentally stimulating activities like puzzles, reading, or learning a new skill can help maintain cognitive sharpness and improve memory. Socializing with friends, family or joining community groups can also foster emotional well-being and keeps the mind active. You can even kill two birds with one stone in terms of physical and mental health by adopting a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep, as these factors contribute to overall brain health.
11. Taking care of yourself if you are a caregiver
Being a caregiver to a loved one is a noble and selfless role, but it’s essential to remember the importance of self-care to provide the best support possible. Be kind to yourself, as caring for yourself is crucial for sustaining your caregiving responsibilities. Prioritize regular breaks and carve out moments for relaxation or hobbies that bring you joy. While having alone time is vital, you should also seek out caregiver support groups to share experiences and insights and gain valuable advice from others in similar situations. There is no shame in asking for support, so do not hesitate to ask for help from loved ones or professional respite care services!
If any of these struggles are ones that you can relate to, I hope my words and experiences offer you a little solace moving forward. We all have our struggles, so never feel guilty if you feel like you can’t do it all – and never feel bad for asking for help or support from your loved ones! (Trust me, they want to help whenever and however they can.)