I was recently contacted by Kathie Schlaerth, a Catholic mom and grandmother, and a physician and researcher who is writing on the role of aging and grandparents. Kathie shared the following, and would love your insights and stories on the topic of grandparenting. You are invited to comment below or to email her at [email protected].
Many health care workers have encountered one or two memorable patients whose courage or individuality they remember across the decades. One of my most memorable was a feisty eighty year old who shepharded four toddlers and preschoolers to the clinic where I was doing an internship in pediatrics . It turned out that she was their caretaker while her grandchildren were at work, and after school added a couple more great grandchildren to her roster. She showed not a sign of fatigue; in fact seemed quite a joyous person.
As a pediatric geriatrician I have been intrigued by the roles played by grandparents and even great grandparents as the glue in many families, and am in the process of slowly writing a book which will cover not only the physiology of aging (and how to combat loss of function) but also the roles grandparents have played through history and prehistory in supporting their offspring. I would love to speak with parents, grandparents and greatgrandparents about their experiences, and am looking especially at how grandparents pass on the Faith, the how-to of cross cultural and distance grandparenting, the challenges of being put in the position of raising one’s grandchildren, helping special needs grandchildren (autistic, seriously ill etc) and supporting one’s own children and children in law under stressful circumstances. Actually, any anecdotes, words of wisdom, even good recipes would be appreciated.
To assist with Kathie’s research, comment below or contact her directly at [email protected].