This week is Assisted Living Week, when Assisted Living communities throughout the country celebrate their residents, employees, and partners in care. Yesterday, Assisted Living Week began with the observance of Grandparents Day. This is a fitting way to start the week of celebrations as many residents are grandparents and great-grandparents. But, have you ever wondered about the origin of Grandparents Day?
According to an article in the Los Angeles Daily News, “The purpose of Grandparents Day is well stated in the statute ‘to honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children and to help children become aware of the strength, information and guidance older people can offer.'” The article continues:
The effort to create this special day goes back to the 1970s and has been attributed to more than one person. Some consider Michael Goldgar as the initiator who proposed it after visiting his aunt in an Atlanta nursing home. He is reported to have spent $11,000 of his own money in lobbying efforts that involved 17 trips to Washington, D.C. during a span of seven years meeting with legislators.
The more well-known driver is Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade, a housewife in West Virginia who worked to educate others about the important contributions of older adults while honoring lonely older persons in nursing homes. She urged people to adopt a grandparent not for just a day or for material goods, but for a lifetime of experience.
Thanks to President Jimmy Carter, their efforts resulted in a 1978 law designating the first Sunday in September as National Grandparents Day. The first National Grandparents Day was celebrated on Sept. 9, 1979.
According to the article, over four million children in the US are raised by their grandparents, and California has the highest number of these types of multigenerational households. Many successful people, including Oprah Winfrey and Bill Clinton, were raised by their grandparents. The article concludes, “Grandparents are an important influence — as guardians of family traditions, as a unique friend to grandchildren and as teacher and giver of gifts.”
Thank you to the grandparents who have enriched our lives and the lives of all Californians! We celebrate you on Grandparents Day and throughout the rest of Assisted Living Week! To see another example of the ways in which our grandparents can inspire us, visit the California Inspires! Resident Art Show at the California State Capitol, open to the public until September 13th.