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What could be better than Disney World?

Created date

August 24th, 2009

Forget about traveling over the river and through the woods. For many children, a trip to visit their grandparents is just a few miles away. And for grandparents living at Erickson communities in the D.C. area, their new lifestyle means they can spend more time doing fun and interesting activities with their grandchildren. I take my role as a grandparent seriously, says Laura Winters, who lives at Riderwood with her husband, Hal. I feel that I play an important part in their lives. Our 6-year-old granddaughter loves to come to Riderwood. When she visits, we participate in the open Wii bowling activities, visit the swans, make brownies, ride the shuttle, go to dinner together, do crafts and sewing in our apartment home, or I give her piano lessons in one of Riderwood s music rooms. We also have a 16-year-old grandson who can t wait until he is old enough to move to Riderwood. He shoots pool with his grandfather, plays Wii bowling, and swims laps in the pool when he visits. He loves to hear stories from my childhood, including stories of my own grandparents. The Winters are also able to spend special time with their two young grandsons who live in Seattle; they use Skype, an Internetbased video phone network. Our favorite activity is to Skype with them on our computer, says Mrs. Winters. It gives them a chance to see us and get to know us and for us to watch their growth.

Growing together

One grandparent doesn t use Skype to connect with her granddaughter she uses song. My time with my granddaughter, Laura, is very special because we don t live close by each other, says Greenspring s Rita Petrowicz. So when we are together, we sing. On one of my visits, I taught her You Are My Sunshine, and now we sing it together whenever we talk on the phone. One time when she visited me at Greenspring, we went to the Saturday sing-along and sang You Are My Sunshine with the whole group. Ashby Ponds Tom and Julia Ferguson enjoy taking their grandchildren outdoors when they come to visit the community in Ashburn. I spoke with the campus gardening group about using a garden space with my grandchildren, Moses, 8, Ruby, 6, and Ella, 2, says Mrs. Ferguson. Each child told me what they wanted to plant, and we got to work. We have purple and pink petunias, beans, carrots, tomatoes, and watermelon. I like fi nding ongoing educational opportunities to share with them. Last week, I taught them to correctly pick beans. We also planted some gourds in the garden for the purpose of drying them out and decorating. Since they live in nearby Chantilly, the Fergusons grandchildren are able to visit frequently. On a recent visit, they spent two hours weeding, watering, and mulching the garden together. en they went swimming and to the caf for lunch. We always have fun together there is so much to do, says Mr. Ferguson. Sometimes we ll simply go down to the store and get some Nutty Buddies or ice cream and sit outside and enjoy our snack. My grandson Moses likes to shoot pool, and they all love going out to the putting green and the swimming pool. Dining here is always fun. The staff is very friendly, our neighbors love to see the kids, and they enjoy the attention. It s just so easy to be a grandparent here.