From personal experience and from endless conversations I’ve had and seen online, one of the most common hardships about immigration is being separated from close relatives; particularly the relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren.
One day a thought came to mind, what if we adopted a grandparent in our new country?
One cannot replace your loved ones, but beautiful new relationships can develop, and the benefits can be mutual. We have a lot we can learn from seniors who have a wealth of knowledge and experience. There is also something unique and special about the relationship between a senior and youth, the way they interact differently from the parent-child relationship. Perhaps your kids miss the attentiveness and spoils of a grandparent; and a senior, misses the youthful energy of a child, or family for that matter.
How do you adopt a grandparent you may ask?
There as so many options I’m sure, but in our case, we had friends here in Canada who did not have kids of their own (yet) and their mother absolutely loves kids. By simply inviting and fostering the relationship and affirming her role as honorary grandmother, she became like family to us and we love sharing special events with her.
You may need to put yourself out there and seek out a senior who does not have family around, be that someone from a retirement home, your church, or your neighbourhood. Maybe start by inviting someone who is alone over Christmas to join your family for dinner? Building community is such a vital part of settling into your new home and you may change someone else’s life more than you can imagine.
Who knows, maybe you could start something incredible in your community by creating a local social media group starting up an “adopt a grandparent” initiative that goes beyond your family or immigrants.