State Honors Grandparents Day

Contact: Karen Carroll (517) 373-8230
Agency: Community Health

September 8, 2006

Sunday, September 10, 2006 is National Grandparents Day and the Office of Services to the Aging encourages all Michiganians to honor grandparents on this day. Grandparents Day is a family day, a day when grandchildren can give special recognition to their grandparents and other older adults in their lives.

"Grandparents play a special role in our lives and Grandparents Day gives us a chance to let them know how much they mean to our families," said Sharon L. Gire, Director of the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging. “As life expectancy increases, we are fortunate to be able to spend more years with grandparents and it’s a perfect time to enhance communication between the generations."

Grandparents Day is also a time to honor the increasing numbers of grandparents that have taken on the non-traditional role of raising their grandchildren often without the parent of the child being in the home. U.S. Census 2000 data tell us that 2.4 million grandparents are taking on primary responsibility for their grandchildren's basic needs. In Michigan, over 70,000 grandparents are responsible for their grandchildren living with them.

Some suggested activities for Grandparents Day:

o Construct a family tree or spend time looking at old family photos

o Preserve particular ethnic or religious beliefs through sharing foods or stories from their childhood

o Invite the family together for a gathering in honor of the grandparents

o Take a moment to spend time with elderly friends and neighbors or residents of a local long-term care facility who don’t have family nearby and ‘adopt’ them as grandparents

o Give grandparents raising their grandchildren special recognition with ‘a day off’ or sponsor a picnic in their honor

In 1978, the US Congress passed legislation proclaiming the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day. The month of September was chosen for the holiday to signify the ‘autumn years’ of life. For more information contact the Office of Services to the Aging at (517) 373-8230 or www.miseniors.net. The Michigan Office of Services to the Aging is the focal point of Michigan’s aging network providing leadership, innovation, advocacy, and supportive services on behalf of Michigan’s older adults and caregivers.