Grandparents Day, which falls in September each year, was originally founded not only to recognize grandparents, but also to bring awareness of the needs of people living in nursing homes. Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade was a West Virginia housewife who had worked with senior citizens for many years. In 1970 she began a campaign to honor them. In 1979 her efforts were fulfilled when President Jimmy Carter signed the proclamation creating a National Grandparents Day. Mrs. McQuade passed away in 2008 at the age of 91.
The Grandparents Day Proclamation includes text that resonates with Providence caregivers, many of whom care for our residents like family. In part, the Proclamation reads:
Grandparents are our continuing tie to the near-past, to the events and beliefs and experiences that so strongly affect our lives and the world around us. Whether they are our own or surrogate grandparents who fill some of the gaps in our mobile society, our senior generation also provides our society a link to our national heritage and traditions.
We all know grandparents whose values transcend passing fads and pressures, and who possess the wisdom of distilled pain and joy. Because they are usually free to love and guide and befriend the young without having to take daily responsibility for them, they can often reach out past pride and fear of failure and close the space between generations.
If you are caring for an aging parent, let National Grandparents Day remind you of the treasures we receive from the generations before us. And consider it an opportunity to involve your own children in caring for their grandparents. The mutual blessing your parents and children will receive can leave a legacy of respect and care.