Spending time with family is most cherished in later life, with grandparent and grandchild bonds stronger than ever
More time to do what you please
While you may have enjoyed years of working hard and raising a family, you now have the luxury of time. Time to travel, be with loved ones, learn new skills. Indeed, when we recently surveyed 1,600 UK adults aged 60+* to find out the ‘best things about growing older’, 62% claimed ‘getting more choice over how to spend your time’ came second only to retiring itself (65%).
Top 20 things about growing older:
- Getting more choice over how to spend your time
- Having more time for travel
- Having more time for family
- Not caring what people think
- Going on more/longer holidays
- Being less stressed
- Being able to live spontaneously
- Taking grandchildren on outings
- Looking after your grandchildren
- Being able to take up new hobbies
- Having more disposable income to do what you want
- Teaching your grandchildren new skills
- Being more knowledgeable
- Reading with your grandchildren
- Playing games with grandchildren e.g. Monopoly, card games
- Telling stories to grandchildren about when you were a child
- Buying books for grandchildren
- Reading to your grandchildren at bedtime
- Not feeling tied down to one place
Feeling close to grandchildren
If you’re a grandparent, spoiling the grandchildren with a memorable day out, rounded off with a game of Monopoly and a cosy evening curled up reading bedroom stories may sound like bliss. Indeed, a common theme prevailed in our research: spending time with family.
The findings reveal a strong inter-generational bond between grandparents and grandchildren. Nearly half (45%) of doting grandparents spend more time with their grandchildren now than they did with their own children when they were the same age. One in six even claim they are emotionally closer to their grandchildren than their own children. Geography may play a role here – 44% live within five miles of their grandchildren. Therefore, the importance of local family support remains invaluable. For those separated by distance, the convenience of modern life means 96% keep in touch with family and friends via email and text message.
Making memories with grandchildren
Nearly half (42%) of over-60s believe taking grandchildren on outings and looking after them is one of the best things about growing older. Over a third (35%) cherish teaching their grandchildren new skills – and for one in five, it doesn’t get better than sharing a hobby. The simple pleasure of playing a classic board game or cards brings joy to a third (33%).
Storytelling – books bring families together
It’s heartening to see another traditional pursuit binding the two generations together: reading. More than a third (34%) say reading with their grandchildren brightens their silver years. Over a quarter (26%) take pleasure in snuggling down to tell fun and fantastical tales at bedtime particularly. In fact, relaxing in bed was ranked the top place to enjoy a good book (66%). Perhaps you’re one of the 55% of older adults who think nothing beats immersing yourself in a story on holiday – and with 23% of us travelling with family and friends, sharing this joy with grandchildren in a new, exciting environment is a special way to make memories.
Not all children want mobile phones and tablets – ‘buying books for children’ is considered a joy for 29% of grandparents and charity shops benefit too, proving the most popular shopping destination for those looking to treat little ones (45%).
Furthermore, senior storytellers are captivating children with tales of their own childhood – and 30% say this brings them great joy in later life. To quote author Alex Haley: “Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents… sprinkle stardust over the lives of children.” Your role in shaping the next generation and characterising their childhood with special memories is as valuable to them as it is to you.
Always remember to live in the moment and always look for opportunities to do more of what you love most.
*Study of 1,600 UK adults aged 60+ conducted by OnePoll in August 2019.