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Scotland, 5 Live, London, Berkshire, 3 Counties,  Newcastle, Merseyside, Bristol, Leicester, Norfolk, Shropshire, West Midlands etc

As heard on BBC Radio 5 Live with Shelagh Fogarty (43 mins in) here  

Mary Berry on being a Grandmother and cooking with kids - here

THE place for new grandparents to meet, swap ideas and experiences, and above all pass on loads of useful advice. Are you a new Grandparent?  Are you as excited as we were when our first grandson arrived and lit up our lives?  If so you've come to the right place.  This is:

 

  • A meeting place for grandparents
  • A resource where we share ideas, advice, expertise and wisdom
  • A place to celebrate our grandchildren but also offload if we’re feeling stressed
  • Somewhere that offers mutual support

We had the idea of starting this website after we’d become grandparents (me for the first time, Michael for the second, but more on that later in About Us) and once we realised how much lively discussion goes on the minute you put two or more sets of grandparents together!  We felt it was about time we had our own special place for Grandparents.

I'll be blogging  regularly below on all manner of grandparenting issues - please send in your comments.

Dilys

 
Friends -  Johnny Ball, Wendy Craig and Mary Berry talking about what being a grandparent means to them here.

Under  TIPS you'll find advice on – travel, food, activities, sewing and craft and all the equipment you'll need as a new grandparent.

Do join in here and send us your tips....info@GrandparentsNow.com

 

You'll find any relationship dilemmas around grandparenting  - questions and answers - under Advice.  Email us your own queries.

And Grandparents rights here

Sadly,  we've had to suspend our forum because it was hacked but do please feel to contact us through info@grandparentsnow.com or by commenting on the blog.

 

You may like to send us photos of you and your grandchildren.  If so please email them:

info@GrandparentsNow.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipes for prisoners

December 10th, 2014
Filed under: Grandparenting in the News, Parenting/Grandparenting by: dilysmorgan
 
 
A friend who runs training for the Probation Service has come up with a novel idea to help recently released prisoners with some basic lifeskills.  One of those skills is cooking -
so he's asking if we grandparents can help by passing on some of our experience and expertise.  He outlihes his idea below:
 
 
In my work as a Probation Officer, I found that many people I worked with lacked the basic skills and knowledge to manage their lives outside of prison. 

My strong feeling , which is supported by research, is that helping people to develop their skills while also helping them to develop more positive attitudes will assist them to sort their lives out and avoid getting into trouble in future. 

Many people I work with also lack a positive role model with the skills and experience to give them guidance when they need it.

If you would like to help ex-offenders to turn their lives around, I believe that your Life Skills and experience could be of real benefit to this group, and help to reduce crime in our society.

I am asking people to simply donate a recipe, which they have found to be simple to prepare for someone with no previous experience of cooking and a minimum of equipment. It should be cheap and nutritious- filling but healthy, and ideally could be made in a batch and used throughout the week. 

The recipes will be incorporated into the workbook that the programme participants are given, and we will tell them that they have been donated by grandparents who wanted to do something to help them. No Personal details will be given. We will include a first name if you wish this to be added to your recipe.

 

So if any of you feel you can help by donating a simple, nourishing recipe, and sending in to us, we'd be most grateful and I'm sure the recipients will too!

The magic of Christmas

December 1st, 2014
Filed under: Grandparenting in the News, Parenting/Grandparenting by: dilysmorgan

 

 

Christmas and small children is a magical combination. And those of us who are grandparents are so lucky to have children in our lives at this time of year. I just love their wide-eyed wonder, their belief in all things magical, and their excitement at seeing the first light, the first tree, the first mince pie!

I indulged myself his weekend when they came to stay.   I'd bought a Gingerbread house to make with them and I'm not sure who had most fun!  It was a great buy – a very easy to follow, put-together house ready supplied with ample sweets for decoration.  All we had to do was mix an egg white with icing sugar and attempt to pipe the icing in the right place!  The result may not have been perfect, but it was made with love and laughter and the boys were thrilled to be able to show it off to their parents.

I've left the decision with them – whether to keep it as a decoration or let them demolish it gradually by eating it!  I know which route I'd prefer from the point of view of their teeth, but it is their gingerbread house now and I'll be fascinated to see what becomes of it!

Let’s End Going Home Alone

November 20th, 2014
Filed under: Uncategorized by: dilysmorgan

We really like the sound of this RVS campaign to ensure that the elderly are not shunted out of hospital and back off home without some arrangements being put in place to look after them.  I well remember how difficult it was for our family when my 97-year-old aunt was discharged from hospital without any care or thought being paid to how she would manage alone.  She lived in a good-sized house with her bedroom upstairs; she had been used to doing all her own cooking yet no thought was given to whether there'd be any food in the fridge, whether the house would be cold, how she'd get upstairs to bed.  Then there was the problem of precisely when she'd be discharged:  I lived an hour and a half away and yet there was no means of letting me know when I needed to set off to be there to welcome her home. 

Little failings like this in our health system and social care provision probably don't seem to amount to much to busy hospital executives or civil servants! Yet they are of vital importance to any elderly person living alone.  So this new campaign seeks to address some, if not all, of these issues by encouraging hospitals to be better at communicating and fitting in around older peoples' requirements, by encouraging volunteers to offer their services to befriend those about to be discharged so that they can make sure there is a warm house and well-stocked fridge to return to, and by encouraging others to donate to the cause.

 

We wish them well – and as we do so would like to highlight this quote that we found on their website from their founder Lady Stella Reading when she first established the Womens' Voluntary Service as it was then in 1938

 

'The ultimate strength of a nation lies not in her trading, nor in the multitude of her financial transactions. It’s not found in her banking operations nor in the acumen of her leaders. The ultimate strength of a nation lies in the character of the men and women who are that nation and voluntary service is an integral part of that character'

What wise words to end on!

On Death and Dying

October 20th, 2014
Filed under: Uncategorized by: dilysmorgan

 
Two moving stories in the news this morning on this less than cheerful subject.  Firstly, the sad news about the death of Linda Bellingham who so bravely talked about her impending death and what it was  like to be in the final stages of a life she clearly would have preferred to go on longer.  And then this morning on the Today programme on Radio 4 an interview with the daughter of an 86 year old who decided to end her own life by starving herself to death.  What these stories have in common is a perfectly natural desire to be in charge of one's own death.  Both women demonstrated extraordinary clarity of purpose and a wish to be in control.  It's hard to understand why this should surprise us;  we all feel better when we're in control of our own lives and our own destiny and yet too many of us seem to have to surrender these powers when we come close to the end of our days.  I've often said that I feel this is bound to change;  as the baby boomer generation ages those of us who've become used to having a say in how things run will be unlikely to relinquish this readily.  But let's hope the change happens sooner rather than later so that people don't have to suffer the indignity of taking extreme measures like refusing food and drink in order to satifsfy a desire to die graciously and at a time of their choosing.

Volunteers’ Week

June 2nd, 2014
Filed under: Uncategorized by: dilysmorgan

We depend so much on volunteers in this country that we should mark this week by giving all volunteers some recognition and a big thank you.  It doesn't surprise me that as a nation we are generous with our time: my neighbours include a volunteer who drives the sick and elderly to hospital and doctor appointments; a charity shop worker; the chairman of two societies; one who visits the elderly for company and another who referees hockey matches. 

We all volunteer our time for different reasons;  some are purely altruistic, others have a self-interest, some do it to fend off lonliness, others because they know that life has dealt them a good hand and they want to give something back.  The people I've mentioned above are all of a 'certain age' and it seems to be the case that the retired are particularly good at turning their hand to volunteering once their working lives are done. 

But what encourages me today is that I've recently come across a number of young people who  volunteer  their time too.  And it seems quite clear that if they start early, they're likely not only to continue but to inspire others.  So I'd like to give a special round of applause to all young people who currently volunteer…….and encourage those that don't to consider it.  You can always choose an area that interests you anyway, and thus derive some real enjoyment from your labours.  It can also enable you to meet new friends, different people and enlarge and enrich your social life. So you've got little to lose and lots to gain!

Old age begins at 80?

May 21st, 2014
Filed under: Uncategorized by: dilysmorgan

It's really good to read – for a change! – that a new survey has discovered that perceptions of old age have changed a lot over the last few years.  This is the conclusion of the people at PayingTooMuch.com who commissioned the survey.

And it's particularly good news for those of us who know we are ageing, but who hate being continually categorised as 'the elderly', or 'pensioners' or even grandparents!  How often do you see a news story saying 'father robbed'… or 'mother mugged' when if the person happens to be a grandparent that title is automatically attached.

And don't get me started on the illustrations that newspapers usually use on stories about pensioners or senior citizens.  They are almost always someone who is at the extreme – someone very wrinkled, bent, hobbling and bandaged.  Whereas those of us who have recently become pensioners know that many, if not most, of us are still trim and fit and upright and fighting off that wrinkled skin!!!

So if 80 is the new 60 that's fine by me.  And much more representative of how life really is.  People in their sixties, seventies and eighties are nowadays often leading busy, full lives contributing to society.  So let's hear  and spread this message more often!

 

 

 

 

Family Life

April 17th, 2014
Filed under: Uncategorized by: dilysmorgan

 

I'm currently in France where grandparents are out in force minding grandchildren for working parents.  It's the school holidays here, just as home, although Friday isn't a public holiday, so parents need even more cover!  The difference I observe though is that French families traditionally holiday together – all,generations – so many parents will have taken part of their annual leave in order to be with the entire family.  They really value family life here, which is why they've introduced this new rule that staff shouldn't have to take work emails or phone calls after 6 pm.  It sounds wonderful for the work-life balance but surely pretty impossible to implement, particularly if you're a journalist – say – who really has to respond to news whenever or wherever it happens.

But the intention is good – that children should be entitled to their parents' full-time attention after school and before bed.  Will be interesting to see how it works!

Happiness Day?

March 20th, 2014
Filed under: Uncategorized by: dilysmorgan

The idea that we can all suddenly be happy – just because someone has decreed that today is Happiness Day – is bizarre.  In fact, it's downright insulting and actually quite dangerous for nothing is more likely to make someone depressed than the idea that they 'should' or 'could' be happy when they're not.

Happiness isn't something you can switch on.  It's not even a sensible goal to aim for as it can be elusive.  I always tell clients that hardly anyone is happy all the time.  Some people are sometimes happy;  others spend their lives in a state of anxiety and despair ; most us know highs and lows.  Far better to aim for a life of contentment for that is far more  achievable – a much more realistic goal than all-out happiness.

Besides, at a time when there's so much misery in the world with wars, disasters and air-traffic accidents all around us – promoting World Happiness Day just feels inept and inappropriate.  Whoever dreamt this up should find better things to do with their time.

The horror of Uncertainty

March 13th, 2014
Filed under: Uncategorized by: dilysmorgan

Our hearts go out to all the relatives of the people missing on flight MH370.  It's hard to imagine what agonies they are suffering while they await news – any news of their loved ones.  Those of us unaffected can understand why it might be taking the various agencies ages to work out what happened, but for those who are directly involved the wait must be seeming so very very long.

There is nothing worse than uncertainty.  It unsettles us totally, which is why when people go through life's dramatic events they often feel so much better once a decision has been made, or once a marriage has ended or a job finally come to an end.  Even though the endings may feel brutal and difficult at least they leave us knowing what we have to deal with.  But uncertainty leaves us frozen in time, inept, unsure what to feel or how to cope because there always seems to be hope:  hope that the worst may not have happened, that things may not be as bad as they seem.

So the relatives now will be clutching at straws whilst fearing the worse which means they are in limbo;  their feelings won't have  a chance to settle down until they have the facts. And they probably won't be able to sleep, eat or think straight in the meatime.  It's a truly punishing period they're going through.

The disabling effects of uncertainty are well-known in counselling, which is why we always advise people who are suffering any kind of manageable uncertainty to try and do what they can to dispel it.  If someone is due to appear in court, for instance, and is unsure how it is going to be, we'd encourage them to visit the court in advance to familiarise themselves with as much of it as they can.  Or if someone is due to start a new school, we'd recommend a visit ahead of the start of term just so they know what's what.

Unfortunately, in this circumstance of unmanageable uncertainty, there's not a lot we can recommend, except perhaps that the sufferers take as much care of themselves as is possibly while they wait, to try to eat and sleep so that they are physically as strong as they can be to face up to the eventual news when it comes.  If it's bad news, it will be shattering, but there will be relief as well as shock as they realise they've moved out of the 'uncertain phase' and into a new phase of grief and loss and bereavement.  Not easy to deal with but one stage better than before.

Amazing Maze

March 11th, 2014
Filed under: Uncategorized by: dilysmorgan

 

We visited the Cliveden Maze on Saturday and the fine weather had brought loads of people out.  This didn't mean it was crowded – we had plenty of space to more around and around and keep going round the same corners!  It was huge fun and the boys loved it, but also a bit frustrating as we kept meeting the same people coming towards us.  However, despite a few arguments, it was obvious that most  people were having an absolute ball.  I noticed some of the adults raising their eyebrows at me as we continually brushed past each other….but eventually, we all began to laugh and laugh as we continually failed to reach the centre which was everyone's goal.

It occurred to me then that visiting a maze would be a terrific bonding exercise – particularly for any teams who weren't bonding well.  A few minutes let loose in a maze would prove to be both relaxing and fun, while also proving to them the worth of working together rather than separately to solve a puzzle.