Nan Just Froze


Photo is for illustrative purposes only.

Nan lived together with her daughter and her little grandson. They didn’t have an extended family, but they were close to each other.

Nan was active and fit and was really looking forward to retirement and doing things she’d long wanted to do. About a week before her retirement from her long-held civil service position, nan woke up one morning to discover her daughter had passed away in her sleep.

Devastated by loss, her dreams of retirement shattered – as financially she could no longer afford to retire; she had to take responsibility for raising her 2-year-old grandson. This was a challenge which she found difficult physically and mentally. Between bereavement and unexpected responsibility nan just froze.

When Safe Families Wales had a referral come through for her we put in place a volunteer who was an older mum with young child of her own. Nan said she managed to carry on throughout the week because she was working set days and her grandson had set child care but on weekends she felt she wasn’t being fair to her grandson because she wasn’t able to take him anywhere. She felt she should take him swimming or to the park but it was all too much for her.

So the volunteer mum would go with nan and her grandson and take her own youngster swimming together – all four of them splashing in the pool. They also met for an occasional coffee and a chat in town. 

Support lasted over the space of 6 months, which took grandmother over the anniversary of her daughter’s death, a time she was really dreading.

When the time came for us to review the support we found that nan was making great emotional and practical progress. She had set up a group for grandparents raising grandchildren that met regularly and had organised care for her grandson if anything happened to her, another of her main concerns.

Our support came to a natural end and while it had been a real help to nan to lean on our volunteer during the hard times, nan had come out the other side of the tunnel; not only she was able to support herself but she was also offering help to others.

If you’d like to offer support to families like these, please fill in our online volunteer application form and we’ll get in touch!