Caregiving: The Benefits of Involving Children in Family Relationships

By Pamela D. Wilson, CSA, MS, BS/BA, CG

Many adults find themselves raising children and caregiving for aging parents or grandparents. When I was young, my mother was very good about taking me to visit my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other family members who were aging and already in need of care. In many families this activity does not occur because parents feel the need to shield children from sickness and end of life. I attended my grandfather’s funeral when I was 5 year old. Aging family members were a part of my life that I enjoyed, not feared.

The risk in isolating children from older family members and aspects of healthy and death is that children will be less informed and prepared about the role of caregiving when caregiving becomes an eventual life event. By purposely involving young and college aged children in the lives of grandparents and elders, both have the opportunity to learn from each other. This early experience supports caregiving as an activity in later life.

Below are 10 tips for involving children with grandparents, learning old fashion values and skills, and building strong family relationships to consider during summer vacation from school and throughout the year that will support future family caregiving relationships:

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