How to Adopt a Grandparent

By Caroline Baldwin

Portrait of grandmother and granddaughter

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Adopting a grandparent can provide emotional, spiritual and practical support to an elderly neighbor in your community. It can also provide you and your children with a rewarding new friendship with a wise and experienced role model. According to the Homestead Hope Foundation, it is important for seniors to stay social, as it increases happiness and prolongs life. Look into the options in your area for a chance to give back and enrich your life by investing time with a senior.

Research Local Organizations

Many local and national programs have been designed to match up senior citizens with families or children in countries around the world. Look online to see what programs are available in your area. Some programs offer to match grandparents to children’s school classes. At Adopt A Grandparent in Australia, the “grands” volunteer in the classroom with various projects, enabling them to get to know the children. The kids benefit from the senior’s help, stories and friendly attitudes while the seniors are rewarded by the kids’ enthusiasm and the need to be needed. Other programs are available for you to adopt a grandparent within the community who needs assistance or companionship. This can be on a weekly basis or during holiday events. When looking into organizations, check out who much time is required before you commit to the group.

Apply for Adoption

Fill out the application form with your chosen organization. Depending on the organization, it can be online or a form that will need to be mailed or faxed back to them. The organization will need your contact information and your availability to volunteer. Most organizations will follow up and then proceed with getting more information for a background check. They will want to ensure that they are putting the seniors in a safe situation. Most organizations will run a criminal report to check that applicants have no record of abuse, theft, fraud or any other misdeeds that could put the seniors in jeopardy. Once the background check has been completed, they will proceed with any other information they will need to gather such as geographical preferences or personality questions for matching purposes.

Matching of Grandparents

The group will match you with a grandparent to the best of their ability after your paperwork has been sufficiently completed. The matches are often made based on common interests and similar backgrounds. Once matched with a grandparent, reach out to him and find out as much as you can about him. Take your grand out for a treat to get to know him. Ask the organization questions about how he came to the group, what was he looking to get out of it and for suggestions as to how you can best help him. If your grandparent is matched through your school, have a small party for the children to welcome her to the class. Have the children put together a book of information sheets with their photos and a description of themselves to present to the grandparent.

Activities with Adoptees

Plan activities with your grandparent that are beneficial for all that are involved. Spend quality time doing things that she finds interesting -- antiquing, playing bridge or walking through the botanical gardens. Involve her in normal grandparent activities such as attending your children’s sporting events and school plays. The Care Center suggests dropping off meals for your grandparent along with thoughtful notes and take him to doctor appointments. Include your adopted grandparent in holiday celebrations and any other events to prevent him from being alone during what would usually be considered “family time."