The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives. The most significant change has been in our interactions with our families.
A UK survey conducted on Granset in June last year has sparked a conversation on the negative impacts of the pandemic, where more than 1,000 grandparents expressed worry that the crucial relationships they should be building with their grandchildren will be forever changed after not being able to see them for months on end. Here in Australia, the pandemic is still wreaking havoc nearly two years on.
The survey found that 30 per cent of grandparents said that they did not expect to see their grandchildren or newborns months into the Covid-19 pandemic.
On a much more heartbreaking note, 41 per cent confessed that lockdown restrictions made them feel lonelier, as they were severely restricted on visiting family members and grandchildren.
One Gransnet user wrote, “My daughter had twins three weeks ago and she has a two-year-old. My arms just ache to hold the new babies and hug my granddaughter. I know my girl is struggling and I am feeling totally helpless. I’m fed up with living life through a screen.”
Human connection is now more important than ever as we almost reach the second year of living in a global pandemic. Lockdowns and increased restrictions have made us realise how much we crave connection, especially with our family. And living life through a screen is just not cutting it for many grandparents, especially when it comes to their beloved grandchildren.
Sadly, the pandemic isn’t the first instance of grandparents not being able to visit their grandchildren, as many grandparents have experienced discrimination when it comes to visitation. In 2018, a separate Gransnet forum opened up the discussion of how a grandmother found it “unfair” that she never gets to see her grandchildren.
She wrote, “… Sin-laws family are very controlling and my daughter [has] been brainwashed by them. I feel really left out. I never get invited to anywhere … it’s always them. I’m a single parent and nanny … but I never get to see my grandchildren.”
The pandemic amplified the feeling of loneliness for many grandparents. Not only are they living in a pandemic without human connection, but they are also more at risk of developing serious complications if they are to catch the virus. According to a study published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease in September 2020, the inflammation caused by Covid-19 can heavily impact the brain and lead to Parkinson’s Disease.
With more restrictions around the country slowly starting to lift, hope is on the horizon.