An ingenious website is connecting young families who have no grandparents with lonely older people looking for company.
Find a Grandparent was set up in 2012 by Cate Kloos, a German-born mother of two who wanted to provide extra support to her children, whose grandparents live far away. After testing out the service for herself, Kloos and her family found a surrogate grandmother, Grandma Irene, with whom they meet at least once a week to share wonderful family experiences.
“Find a Grandparent is for whoever feels like a grandparent in their life,” Kloos told Aged Care Guide. “Older people sign up to become a surrogate grandparent because they are lonely or they miss having contact with children.”
Given that many grandparents live far away from their grandchildren or are perhaps too sick to spend time with them, this website could be the ideal solution. “Most [older people using the service] don’t have any grandchildren themselves,” Kloos explains. “Or have some spare time to take on some more.”
Would-be grandparents can search for surrogate grandchildren available in their area, send them a message and start bonding, similar to the way online dating works. According to Kloos, there are also measures set up to ensure every member (both grandparents and families) feel comfortable throughout the process. “We send our members guidelines to help them at their first meeting and we are always here to answer any questions they might have along the way.”
The oldest surrogate grandparent using the site is 83, but many users sign up in their 50s. To find out more about this wonderful non-profit organisation, click here.
Have you taken on the responsibility of a surrogate grandparent for a child before? Tell us about your experiences in the comment section below.