Family Connection

My grandmother will be turning 90 this Summer. There are plans being made for a massive celebration befitting of such a massive milestone. The whole family are looking forward to it. In the summertime cousins and second cousins, aunts and grand-aunts, uncles and grand-uncles, nieces, nephews, mums, dads, brothers, sisters, grandchildren and great grandchildren will gather from far and near to celebrate with her. People will be travelling from Australia, from England and from every corner of this little island of our own especially to see her. I'm sure it will be a wonderful day that will be added to the long list of other wonderful days we've spent in her company.
Family connection is hugely important to my grandmother and, as she is the matriarchal figurehead of our entire family, she has passed on those values to all of us. Every Friday, those of us lucky to live nearby, gather in her house to start the weekend off. Sometimes there are only a few of us and sometimes you might be forgiven for thinking there was a party going on inside there are so many... or a créche being operated as there are a lot of babies lately! There is always a big pot of soup on the stove and freshly made scones on the table and everybody is welcome. 

This weekly visit has been a part of my routine since I was a child and although, there were many years when my work meant I couldn't visit regularly, I am now relishing the opportunity to make sure my daughters have it as a part of their childhood too. I love that they have a similar relationship with their great-grandmother to the one I had with my own great-grandmother. (Whom I also visited in that house, until she passed away at age 98, when I was in my early twenties.)

I feel incredibly lucky to have had these amazing women in my life for so long. I feel lucky too, that we never lost them before their time to diseases like dementia or alzheimers and that these intelligent, talented women had and have spent full, rich lives surrounded by a loving family, with all of their mental faculties intact.

Not everybody gets to be so lucky. And even when they are surrounded by a loving family, sometimes a devastating disease, like dementia, can rob people of so much of their quality of life regardless. When I was contacted by a company called Active Minds recently and asked to write about how alzheimers and dementia can affect a family, my first reaction was to refuse. Afterall, I have been lucky enough not to have direct experience of it and was afraid I'd undermine the experiences of others by writing about something I don't fully understand.

But then I had a look at the products they provide and thought that if I ever had a loved one affected by this then they would be exactly the kinds of things I would want to provide them with, to keep that all-important family connection alive as long as possible. From art projects, to puzzles to interactive games and communication tools, I would be happy to try all of it if it meant bringing a family member joy and maintaining a relationship with them.
My grandmother has always been a keen artist. She also enjoys crosswords, sudoku and other types of puzzles as well as knitting, writing letters, meditating and reading. I've always admired her for how well she looks after her mental health by engaging in so many personally satisfying activities and I'm sure it's contributed hugely to her health and well-being overall. 

I have no doubt, should we ever need them, the kids of activities designed by Active Minds would be very enjoyable for her and would help to maintain the family connection she's always instilled in us.

For now, I'll count myself lucky once again that she is still as smart as a whip, the centre of our whole family and one of the most important people in  my life. I can't wait to party with her in June!

Disclosure: This post was written in association with Active Minds. All content was written by me, however. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Where Wishes Come From! 

5 comments

  1. Oh that's so lovely - so beautifully written, and I really felt like I was getting an insight into your family life. The Friday visits are such a great idea. Long may they continue.

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    1. Oh, thanks so much Andrea! The Friday visits are the best. Long may they continue indeed!

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  2. Those Friday visits sound picture book perfect Sadhbh. You are very lucky.
    My grandmother died at 93 about 15 months ago. She was a wonderful woman and, like your grandmother, into her crosswords, cooking, baking, politics and having people over.
    It is great that you are able to expose your daughters to this. It may be be dying out as our lives become busier and people just don't make the time for family and friends and spontaneity.

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