Skip to content
Please donate

Want a new lease of life? Grandparenting could be the answer

Published on 05 October 2018 09:39 AM

Generation Granennial: Age UK reveals what it takes to be a 21st Century grandparent, including learning 'The Floss'

Here come the Granennials - grandparenting the millennial way – a new online survey carried out by Age UK reveals that the majority of grandparents who responded (71%) believed that having grandchildren had given them a new lease of life. These findings are revealed ahead of Age UK's #Grandpics campaign to mark Grandparents' Day, which takes place on Sunday 7th October.

The survey demonstrated that reciprocity across the generations is key to 21st Century grandparenting - nearly all of the grandparents who took part in the survey (98%) said they felt it is important that younger and older generations learn from each other. Over a third (37%) said their grandchildren had introduced them to new songs, music and TV programmes while more than a fifth (2%) revealed they had learnt new languages or phrases, either from their grandchildren or from other young people in their lives. Sitting down together to watch TV, cartoons or films topped the poll of most popular activities to do together (60%), closely followed by going to the park (56%) and reading books (53 per cent), and nearly a quarter (23%) said they had learned new dance moves such as 'The Floss'.

As well as learning how to floss, understanding FOMO and knowing who Cardi B is, many of these grandparents who took part in the research had picked up techy tips from their grandchildren: almost half (41%) acknowledged that the younger people in their lives had helped them to use or make better use of their mobile phones, computers and tablets.

Indeed, many of the Granennials who took part in the survey were using tech to keep in touch with their grandchildren: almost of a quarter of the grandparents who responded were using WhatsApp and text (24%), with Skype and FaceTime being slightly more popular (28%), and a fifth of the grandparents were using social media, including Twitter and Instagram.

Age UK's Charity Director, Caroline Abrahams, said: "Our survey suggests that, happily, grandparenting today is still based on the timeless values of love and mutual support but that many grandparents particularly appreciate being kept in touch with a fast changing world by their savvy grandchildren. Whether it's fixing that glitch on their mobile phone, or trying out the latest dance move, many grandparents clearly really do value the help they receive from their grandchildren, as well as all the fun they have with them. In exchange, grandparents are often utterly indispensable to their families, providing huge amounts of practical and emotional support – hopefully a win:win for everyone concerned.

"However, we also know that being a grandparent can sometimes bring challenges, which is why at Age UK we have a wide range of information, advice and support on offer if older people ever feel they need it."

Age UK offers a wealth of free information and advice for all older people and those who care about them, from advice on healthy living to information about getting help with paying the bills. For more information, people can contact the Age UK Advice line free on 0800 169 65 65 or visit

To mark this year's Grandparents' Day and honour the millions of grandparents across the UK, Age UK is asking the nation to share photos of their grandparents or other special older people along with a few words about a special memory on social media using the hashtag #Grandpics. For more information go to

-- Ends --

Notes to editors

  • All statistics quoted are from research conducted by Censuswide with 1001 Grandparents. Fieldwork was carried out between 24.09.2018 - 27.09.2018.
  • The grandparents in our survey embraced a wide age range from 50+.
  • Since the survey was carried out online the sample comprised digitally engaged grandparents only, whom we have called 'granennials'. More broadly it is important to remember that 3.8 million people aged 65+ have never used the internet, Internet Users 2017, ONS, 2017. (2018 ONS figures due out on 31st May), with those who are in their seventies and beyond less likely to be computer users than people in their fifties and sixties.

Age UK

Age UK is a national charity that works with a network of partners, including Age Scotland, Age Cymru, Age NI and local Age UKs across England, to help everyone make the most of later life, whatever their circumstances.


Share this page

Last updated: Oct 05 2018

Become part of our story

Sign up today

Back to top