Cool grandparents

Posted in: Research Last updated: 27 Oct 2011

Nearly six out of ten people think their ageing grandparents are ‘cool’, it emerged yesterday (Wednesday 26 October) in a study of 3,000 UK adults.

The fact they lived through a world war, like X-Factor and can knit, garden, and do DIY were among the reasons given.

What makes grandparents cool for more than 40 per cent is the tales they tell from when they were younger; while 38 per cent love the fact their grandparents always spoiled them.

And some grandparents gain kudos because they email, enjoy texting, and use social media networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

A spokeswoman for Engage Mutual, which conducted the survey, said:

“The study reveals how valued grandparents are, and how their ability to keep one foot in the past and one in the present gains them a lot of respect.

“Many of those surveyed recognise that older relations knit the whole family together, and provided them with much needed support through their childhood.”

“Top for grandparents ‘cool’ factor is the really good stories they tell from when they were younger.”

Keeping grandchildren’s secrets, providing stability for the family, and loving to laugh also scored highly.

Those surveyed appreciate the fact their older relatives know about DIY and gardening, can knit, and understand what happens beneath a car bonnet.

And some grandparents also score on the style front.  Whether it’s the current ‘retro’ appeal of clothes they wore when they were younger, or their classic jewellery collections, grandparents are frequently in vogue, with some adding to their cool factor by looking 20 years younger than their age.

Other factors that make grandparents cool include the fact they tell the truth with no real regard for other people’s feelings, and their disbelief that the grandchildren are capable of doing anything wrong.

Unsurprisingly then, eight in 10 of those polled feel lucky to still have their grandparents, and 57 per cent are close to all their grandparents.

Indeed, 65 per cent hope they have as much zest and energy for life as their grandparents when they reach their age.

Two thirds of those surveyed, however, recognise their ageing grandparents are becoming more vulnerable.

And seven in 10 worry about how their grandparents’ needs will change as they age further, with reduced mobility, increased risk of ill health and increased likelihood of an accident being their top concerns.

The Engage Mutual spokesperson added:

“Grandparents are often at the heart of the family and are fiercely independent.  So it’s not always easy to know when to take a more active role on their behalf.

“Sometimes, instead of just popping in for a cup of tea it might also be a case of helping to do the shopping, fixing things around the house, or assisting grandparents attend some appointments.”

Reasons grandparents are ‘cool’

  1. old stories
  2. they spoil you
  3. DIY and gardening knowledge
  4. sense of humour
  5. survived World War 2
  6. at ease with email
  7. knitting skills
  8. they provide stability
  9. view grandchildren with rose-tinted glasses
  10. easy to confide in
  11. keep secrets
  12. always honest, regardless
  13. soft on kid’s bedtimes
  14. on Facebook and Twitter
  15. look 20 years younger
  16. like texting
  17. like X-Factor
  18. understand cars
  19. dye their hair
  20. classic jewellery collection