— Relationships —

Nana and Popop are Coming

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My parents helped me so much with my kids when they were little. Loving, experienced… and free caregivers. It don’t get much better than that. Fortunately my folks lived close, so often my kids went to their place.

But many grandparents live far away, or take care of grandkids at their children’s home. Even when coming for a social visit, they often end up babysitting, and trust me. They love it.

Grandparents are often relegated to the upstairs or basement guest rooms, and they’re climbing up and down stairs all day. They find themselves squatting to pick up toys and babies or to play games. They have to lift children, laundry and groceries.

Recently I’ve seen an uptick in the number of grandparent “injuries” due to caring for grandchild. Maybe it’s because parents are starting to rely more and more on grandparents for their help with babysitting and even total childcare. And grandparents are honored and delighted to do it! But guess what? We have babies when we’re young, because that’s when we’re physically more capable of taking care of them.

When we’re 65+, our bodies are just not made to withstand the pressures of squatting, lifting, running up and down stairs, picking up toys and washing loads of laundry.

I see grandparents who come home from a stent with the grandkids, as though they just finished a summer of two-a-days. They have to go to physical therapy, take anti-inflammatories, and get shoulder or knee injections. I actually have some grandparents who ask for work restriction notes to give to their kids!

Parents… Get ready for Nana and Popop: Put them on the best floor. Don’t ask them to do all the laundry and clean up around the house. They’re not your housekeepers. Set up your household for grandparental success.


  • Donna O'Klock February 13, 2017 at 9:26 am

    Good call! It would seem like the least one could do to prepare for such honored guests, wouldn’t it?
    I’d be willing to bet that it is just a (lack of) awareness issue… but, now everyone knows better. Thank you.

  • Brenda Coffee February 14, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    The house I bought last fall has an upstairs, something I swore I wouldn’t do, but the rest of the house spoke to me. Besides, I wouldn’t be the one going up the stairs, and I don’t have elderly parents. Who knew I’d windup sleeping on a blowup mattress upstairs for three months while contractors were working on the rest of the house? I’m not sure my back and those IT bands will ever stop hurting and get back in shape. I do love your advice. Just wished I’d bought a real mattress. Brenda

  • Barbara Bergin February 15, 2017 at 5:58 am

    That’s something I forgot to mention…no blow up mattresses for mom & dad!

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