Sometimes it’s tough to know how to engage with a grandparent or older parent. That’s why I have been enjoying the recent It’s Not Just Me series (Karen, Pearl, Elle, Sarah, Tanya). It’s offered ideas on how to spoil, serve, and love our older loved ones.  This week, I am taking a hiatus from the series to recap some of the gold nuggets in each of the posts. 

8 Ways to Engage Your Older Parent/Grandparent
  1. Sing with them.
  2. Take classes together (flower arranging, cake decorating, ceramics, painting, cooking, etc).
  3. Start a pen-pal friendship by writing letters to an older relative or friend.  Or connect your child with an older relative who could be a faithful pen-pal as Sarah encouraged us.
  4. Spend an hour at a local senior center, assisted living, or at an older relative’s home playing board games, checkers, or other card games. Read to a resident or family member if they no longer are able to read independently.
  5. Ask your loved one, “what do you want this holiday?” and if possible, consider granting that wish even if it seems a bit outrageous (check out Elle’s gift for her mom!) Give a gift!
  6. Take a picture with your loved one so you can capture your relationship (more than a few young adults have told me they don’t have many or any pictures with their grandparents/parents).  Then print the picture, frame it, and deliver it to your loved one (also another reason to visit). Memories are precious. Check out the sweet picture of Karen and her grandma (they both sewed the clothes they’re styling in this post).
  7. Take a walk together.  You get exercise. Your loved one gets exercise. And most likely some good natural conversation will get slipped in between.  Win-Win!
  8. Compliment them for giving you your good looks. “I got my clear good figure from you, Grandma.” That’s sure to win them over and bring a smile.  Pearl shared with us how her grandparent passed down bushy eyebrows!


These are just a few ways that you can love on older relatives in your life.  Any others I’ve missed?  If you liked today’s post, subscribe to my newsletter for more insight and inspiration!

8 Replies to “8 Ways to Engage Older Parents/Grandparent”

  1. Hello Bel,
    I met you at She Speaks in July and I am very glad that you have an agent to represent you as you move forward with your book. Praying for you.
    I am 72 years old (I can’t believe that is a factual statement!) I have recently had my first cataract surgery and the eye is healing and I have great vision in that eye! So exciting. However I have been very sick last week – not related to the cataract surgery – and an antibiotic is helping me feel better. My last cataract surgery is scheduled for next Tuesday. I am praying my husband and I can be back home by then and follow through for better vision.

    However, my husband’s 97-year old mother appears to be in a crisis as her health and her memory is failing . We’ve seen a frightening decline over the past several days.

    Aging is a difficult part of our physical lives. When 73 year old “children” are caring for 97 year old parents, there are many challenges. The good news is our Heavenly Father is faithful and has assured us in His Word that He will not forsake us even we reach old age. That is a promise we can fully rely on as we do those things that are needed for our loved ones.

    Isabel, yours is a worthy pursuit to promote serious thought about the reality of growing old and being old. It is not easy!

    Blessings to you in your work,

    1. Shirley, it is so great to hear from you again! I hope to see you face to face at She Speaks or elsewhere sometime! Aging is so scary and because I have watched it from various angles, I can feel the fear that many caregivers have (esp as they too are aging). Do pray and my hope is that if you don’t know about hospice, that you would find out about the services they have. Many people think hospice is when someone is completely bedbound and in their last days, but having worked in the field for 8+ years, I have seen how people experience a much gentler death in finding out about it. Many also don’t know it is offered at home! Feel free to contact me at and perhaps we can talk more if you’d like some more detailed information. I write not just to write but in hope that I can help others tangibly and through prayer.

  2. Pen-pal is a really nice idea. You know, the way of friendship pen-pal is now lost away but our seniors, grandparents miss this a lot. So if we start a pen-pal friendship with our grandparent then it will be great. I think this way would be effective more than others, though all these 8 ways are important. By the way Isabel, thanks for sharing this beautiful article with us.

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