Do your grandchildren affect where you live? 616



View Profile

How much time you spend with your grandchildren depends on so many different things. How old they are, whether they live nearby, your relationship with your children, whether you are still at work and whether your home and lifestyle can accommodate them. The extraordinary diversity of attitudes to how often one should see their grandchildren and how much of a role grandparents play in their grandkids’ lives is interesting to contemplate. It is also interesting to consider how it impacts where you might choose to live.

Do you think you may, at some time, have chosen where you live because it enables greater contact with your grandchildren? Or perhaps you have disregarded the idea of living in a village, or moving to a different town because you worry you might miss your grandkids growing up?

My father and stepmum see the grandkids every school holidays. It was a big call for them to move away to the coast, two hours from our home, when they retired, as they were worried about missing out. Several years ago, as they wound back from working full time, they put in place a family tradition that brings the grandkids closer, inviting them to stay every school holidays for several days at a time. All of their grandchildren are primary school aged, and for the four holiday periods each year they can have up to six kids descend on their house near the beach. The kids all bunk up together in a rumpus room on mattresses on the floor like giggling gerties. It can be quite chaotic, but I know everyone loves it.

Similarly, my friends have four children, and after being transferred to live in Perth several years ago, find themselves returning to Brisbane three or four times a year to see their parents. My friends and all four of their children, aged 7-15, go and stay at their parents’ retirement village homewhile they visit, and rave about the facilities on offer. In their village, no one limits the use of facilities to residents only. I have heard many a conversation about just how terrific the full sized pool tables are, restaurant and bar, and how much the kids adore the swimming facilities.

An older family friend, on the other hand, moved several hours away a few years ago when her grandkids were very young. Joan was crucial for her daughter in law, who relied on her to babysit so she could work part time, without the prohibitive cost of daycare making it pointless. While Joan dreaded the change that would mean she could no longer babysit for short stints, she also looked forward to a period where she was not obligated to regular commitments and was relieved when she could be the reason for a special visit rather than part of the daily routine.

Opinions differ greatly on how grandparenting affects where you live.

The question I want to stop and ask today is whether you have found yourself tempted to downsize to a retirement village but struggled with the idea of missing out on your grandkids and more regular contact with your kids? Share how you have been thinking about it today.

This article has been sponsored by Lend Lease Retirement Living who have helped people all over Australia grapple with the downsizing challenge as they have moved into retirement villages. We’re proud to point out that grandchildren are always welcome at Lend Lease Retirement Villages. For more information on retirement living visit

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. I am sure this is one of the most agonizing decisions for so many grandparents. Do we move closer or do we stay put?

    We love seeing the grand-kids and often discuss how much more help we would be if we were a little closer but making the break from our home of forty years is akin to having an amputation.

    Where do we go? Should we buy a unit or go into a village? What about a smaller house (and I could still have a shed to store all that stuff I don’t use but maybe handy one day)?

    Currently we are two hours from one family and three hours from the other. Both are too far just for a day trip or a quick coffee and a chat which would be nice.

    After throwing all sorts of ideas into the ring the one thing I have said to my wife that is of the utmost importance is if were to move close to one of the families and they then moved we would have to like it enough to stay there. You see, our kids have worked overseas for ten years between them and their partners are the same so if a good offer were to come up somewhere we could be left high and dry.

    I will be interested to hear what others have to say while we continue to procrastinate.

    1 REPLY
    • This is very close to my situation, John. Overseas appointments are always on the cards for our daughters and if we moved to live in the same city as one we would be further from the other. We love where we live, and I think to move to one family’s area would place an unacceptable expectation for them to stay there. Unless our physical health or mental capacity declines we’re staying put.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *