historians and role models. SandraMones, a recently retired 57-year-oldgrandmother, is part of the sandwichgeneration, helping her aging motherand her single-parent daughter.
Mones finds being a regular part
of her granddaughter’s life “an
absolute joy.” Remembering how
time-pressed she was working inside
and outside the home when her own
girls were young, she now has the
time to appreciate each stage of her
grandchild’s development. “I don’t
stress about the rules or having to say
‘no’ anymore. I can cuddle and play
with my granddaughter today and do
Mones’s daughter Lindsay
appreciates the strong bond her
parents have created with her four-
year-old. “As a single mom, I can’t
give my daughter the undivided
attention my mom does. I read her
one story before bed whereas my
mom will patiently read through
Active grandparenting is
deeply satisfying and emotionally
rewarding. Says Sarango: “The
interpersonal connection with the
younger generation provides a sense
of purpose in promoting the healthy
development of the child and family,
and increases their self-esteem as
transmitters of family values and
Tam and Sue Bui, who immigrated
to Canada from Vietnam when
their son was three, delight in their
role as family historians, providing
their Canadianized son and two
grandsons with a link to their
heritage. “We are passing on our
culture through language and food
and stories of back home.”
By teaching and sharing a second
language, cultural customs and
traditional cooking, grandparents
give their grandchildren a sense of
identity, as well as happy childhood
— Dawna Freeman
For tips on grandparenting, visitApple’s website at applemag.ca.
satisfying and emotionally rewarding
Spending time with children and youth, whether as a grandparent,
family member, friend or even as a stranger can have significant
trade-offs. Kids can share their knowledge with seniors, draw
them out of isolation, provide a sense of purpose and exude
energy that can spark their days. Seniors bring a historical
perspective, their life skills, wisdom and, perhaps most importantly,
an objective, kind and patient ear to a child’s problems.
Children who face ongoing stress and adversity (toxic stress)without caring adults to support them have a greater risk ofaddiction and illness (everything from mental illness to certaincancers and heart attacks) when they grow up. But a caring adultcan make a difference.
The people who do the mentoring get a lot of benefit, too. Theyare valued and appreciated. One of the worst things for people’shealth is social isolation. These Alberta programs promotegenerational transfer:
( Seniorsforkids.ca; 403-861-4558)
Promotes intergenerational relationships and has a number of programsto unite senior volunteers with children and youth, including one involvingNakoda Stoney elders.
Grandparents Family Storytime lets kids share stories, songs and playswith older adults.
A United Way-supported organization founded in 1994 that connects youngpeople with seniors through school programs and community initiatives.
( AlbertaMentors.ca; 780-680-4195 or toll-free 1-888-342-6514)
The partnership connects children and youth who need a mentor to provideadvice, friendship, reinforcement and constructive role modelling.