Tribune Print Share Text

Destination: grandparents

Erickson Living communities are the new playground

Created date

August 23rd, 2010

[caption id="attachment_13901" align="alignright" width="280" caption="John and Dottie Kraft have hosted all five of their grandchildren at Ashby Ponds. We love to eat and socialize with them, he says. We also go to their ball games. (Photo by John Kraft)"][/caption] Grandparents at communities by Erickson enjoy unique opportunities that come with living on their vibrant campuses acres and activities to explore, swimming pools, game rooms, fitness centers, and the list goes on. This month as the country celebrates the 31st anniversary of Grandparents Day on September 12, more than 70 million grandparents will be honored. And as they are, grandparents at Erickson s Greenspring, Riderwood, and Ashby Ponds share why being a grandparent is so important to them. Sharing time together We are lucky in that all of our eight grandchildren live in the area, says Greenspring s Betty Ernst. They come to visit, and we attend a lot of soccer, football, and basketball games, piano recitals, school band and chorus concerts, and awards ceremonies. When I can, I help them through e-mail with homework, scout projects, or whatever they need. At Greenspring, they can play in the swimming pool or the billiards room. Ernst also travels with her grandchildren to the sites of their favorite stories, including Oxford, England (Harry Potter), Prince Edward Island (Anne of Green Gables), and Northern California (The Boxcar Children). Embracing technology [caption id="attachment_13909" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Patricia Lund held a private party at Ashby Ponds to celebrate daughter Laura s visit from California. (Photo courtesy of Patricia Lund)"][/caption] In addition to visits and travel, many grandparents at Erickson Living communities use the latest technology to stay upto- date with their beloved grandchildren. I just got the magic instrument for keeping in touch other than the telephone, says Ashby Ponds Mary Callahan. My new cell phone has a texting feature, which as we all know, is the way to communicate. I e-mail my grandchildren frequently, adds Riderwood s Hannah Spalding. Our older grandson thinks it is the coolest thing ever that Grandma texts him and other family members. I explained that when you have over 40 years professional experience in the computer field, texting is not a far reach. I just make sure to tell him not to do it while driving. We have two small grandsons in Seattle, says Riderwood s Laura Winters. Our favorite activity is to Skype [video chat] with them on our computer. It gives them a chance to see us and get to know us, and for us to watch their growth. Family ties When President Jimmy Carter declared the first ever Grandparents Day in 1979, he wrote, Grandparents are our continuing tie to the near-past, to the events and beliefs and experiences that so strongly affect our lives and the world around us. Yet if you were to ask the grandparents, they d say they were the lucky ones. The best part about grandchildren for me is watching them develop into their own unique personalities and the interesting people that they are becoming, says Ashby Ponds Margaretta Smith, whose seven grandchildren have all visited her at the Ashburn, Va., campus. It makes me very proud to see what good parents my children have become. I really enjoy having so many little people to love, to watch grow and learn, says Ashby Ponds Joan Foote. But their hugs are definitely the best part even when they re 30!