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Grandparenting

GCSE Graphics- Stakeholder consultation

(9 Posts)
Rebecca27 Sun 01-Jul-18 21:34:51

Hello everyone, my name is Rebecca David and I am currently in year 10, taking GCSE Graphics Design. My current aim is to design a product that helps connect grandchildren and grandparents together, either physically or emotionally. This is yet to be found out through another questionnaire that I have sent out for children to take. In order to go forth with my chosen design brief, I must first find out whether this is an actual problem or not. So far, from research I have found out that elderly people are especially vulnerable to social isolation- this can have a negative impact on their health (such as increase their risk of dementia). Moreover, research claims that grandchildren can minimise this impact. I am looking to see how many grandparents out there, experience similar problems and how they feel about the situation. Furthermore, I would like to know whether you prefer to physically connect with your grandchildren (i.e. having conversations, baby board games and etc) or emotionally connect with them (i.e. receiving a memory box containing pictures of you and them as a present from them)? I would be so grateful, if any of you, grandparents, could post your views on this proposed problem and give me any further suggestions, that could possibly help me develop my design brief to suit a wider range of people. Thank you so much in advance!

Rebecca27 Sun 01-Jul-18 22:35:29

Sorry it is meant to say play board games, not baby board games

BlueBelle Mon 02-Jul-18 03:36:52

I m sorry you ve had no response as yet Rebecca let’s try and get the ball rolling
I m not sure I can help because I feel that this is aimed at very elderly people perhaps in care homes or isolated from the outside world or am I reading it wrong ?
Most people on here I think are bombing around looking after their grandkids while the parents work or if parted by distance would use technology ie social media web chats Skyp etc to keep in touch with their grandkids and whilst may be elderly in years are actually still very active, useful productive people
I see your brief as a little old person with no family around no computer iPad or phone in fact a person not really in the 21C and by the very nature of a chat forum we are all up to date (to some extent anyway 😂) grandparents

Getting back to your brief Time and patience are the best presents Physical and emotional contact aren’t two separate things they go hand in hand, playing with grandkids is a joyful experience, handing them back equally wonderful, photos for me hold lasting memories

First thing I would do is decide what kind of grandparent you are aiming this product for Remember a grandparent can be 40 and many are still working and keeping the world turning until they are 70 or more so most grandparents are quite savvy people
I think you need to aim this at very very elderly or ill and isolated people perhaps in care homes or hospices and who do not use any modern technology I don’t recognise myself in your brief and I am 73 I have just flown many miles to pick grand kids up to bring to my house for a summer holiday
Try sending a written questionnaire out to your local care homes or hospital you may get a clearer picture
Good luck xxx

suzied Mon 02-Jul-18 06:32:48

I’m not sure what type of new product you are designing which would “help connect grandparents and grandchildren”. Something like FaceTime? These things already exist. I find it quite fun to see my GC put their artwork on Instagram and now they have phones it’s nice to get a text or WhatsApp from them. I love seeing them in the flesh as well and enjoy doing things like helping them with their textiles homework or taking them out and about to interesting places near where I live. Good luck with the GCSE.

Wheniwasyourage Mon 02-Jul-18 09:18:04

Like BlueBelle, I don't recognise myself in your description, as I am fortunate enough to be able to visit my grandchildren and have them visit me, fairly often. However, my MIL, who is fairly limited in her mobility and lives in sheltered housing, was absolutely delighted to get a letter from one of our DGC recently. She replied promptly and has since had another letter, which she enjoyed just as much.

People of her generation (she is 89) were brought up to write letters, and so perhaps you could consider whether teaching children to communicate with distant grand- and great-grand-parents by writing the occasional letter or postcard would be useful.

Good luck.

Rebecca27 Tue 03-Jul-18 20:13:42

Thank you so much everyone for your wonderful suggestions, it really means a lot to mean. I will certainly look into developing my design brief and any more suggestions are still welcome.

grannyactivist Wed 04-Jul-18 02:18:04

Hello Rebecca27. I am a Chaplain in a Care Home and so have quite a bit of experience with very elderly people and have a few pointers for you.

Firstly think about children and very elderly people rather than simply grandchildren/parents, which is too limiting; lots of Care Homes invite children from nursery school age and up to visit from time to time. When I'm running such visits I prepare 'Talk About' Cards to guide the conversation the adults and children/young people engage in; this could easily become the basis of a board game, or even several age-appropriate board games. For example: the 'Talk About School' cards give the adult and child an opportunity to share information about schooling in the past and the present. You could easily make this a game where you TalkAbout whatever the subject is on the square you land on after throwing a die. Bear in mind that for some elderly people their vision may be impaired, so a big board, big squares, clear writing. Also, be aware of the needs of people with dementia regarding the importance of colour and contrast (link below).
TalkAbout subjects may include:
Music
Dinner time
Household chores
School
Church
A favourite relative
Worst accident
Visiting the doctor/hospital
Holidays
Pets
I'm sure you could think of plenty more if you like the idea.
I hope the project goes well and that you enjoy learning more about interactions between older and younger people.
dementia.stir.ac.uk/design/virtual-environments/importance-colour-and-contrast

trisher Wed 04-Jul-18 08:10:38

I think the point about being age-specific is very valid. Also there are now in many families parents. grandparents and great-grandparents, all commuicating with children of different ages. As has been said the physical connection is quite often an emotional one as well.
You should perhaps also be aware that old people do not necessarily end their lives in care homes and many of them remain fiercely independent until the end. They sometimes become very indignant if they feel they are being patronised.
grannyactivist I'm afraid my mum at 95 would have told you what you could do with your cards (well possibly not, she would just have ignored you!) Sorry!

grannyactivist Wed 04-Jul-18 10:10:44

trisher none of the residents I work with could ever be forced to 'join in' with activities, workshops etc. - as you say, they are very much able and willing to tell me where to go if they don't want to do something. grin What I have found though, is that if the activity is meaningful then it's the residents themselves who persuade their friends to come along and try things out. Some families are completely shocked when they find out that a relative has regularly been coming to my sessions, although I should say that my role is very much to engage with people as individuals; our activities co-ordinator does the organised games etc.
At the moment I'm working with several of the residents on their family histories. I started with two enthusiasts and now there are many more who are working on theirs. I always arrange for my house guests and visitors to go in for a Q&A session if they have interesting lives and often residents come along who otherwise barely show much interest in anything much. I also take in my dog and my grandchildren to visit. The local schoolchildren (of all ages) come in as groups and often get tongue tied so the cards are a brilliant way of encouraging conversation, but once connections have been made then conversation, especially with older teens, tends to flow without further need for the cards. Many of the residents are forgetful so value having a written prompt so they don't have to think of a question to ask.
Some of the residents are delighted to take part in any and all of the sessions I put on just because of the relationship they have with me, I'm a bit like a favourite niece to many of them and in return I am very fond of them. smile