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A year into the pandemic, Kim Murstein, 26, moved from New York to Florida to live with her grandparents.
Over time, Murstein found herself asking her grandmother, Gail Rudnick, 80, to weigh in on her romantic prospects after going on some socially distant dates. Their intergenerational differences about dating, sex and relationships were so funny that Kim proposed they make a podcast together.
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“My Grandma Gail is such a character, so everything she says is great material,” Murstein says.
Eventually, they started a TikTok account called Excuse My Grandma, where they posted short videos, some of which got millions of views
“I didn't even know what TikTok was,” Rudnick says. “I thought it was a breath mint, like a Tic Tac.”
Excuse My Grandma is now Kim’s full-time job and the duo gets a kick out of being recognized when they’re out together. “The best part about this is being with my granddaughter 24/7,” says Rudnick.
The connection between a grandparent and grandchild is unique, and it can reap enormous benefits for both sides.
“I think grandparents are vitally important,” says gerontologist Carole B. Cox, a professor of social work at Fordham University. “They bring something special into a child’s life.”
With life expectancy increasing and family sizes decreasing, grandparents have more time to spend with their grandchildren than ever before, says Rachel Dunifon, dean of the College of Human Ecology at Cornell University who studies child and family policy.
In addition to having more time, many grandparents also live very close to their grandchildren. Dunifon coauthored a study that found that half of U.S. teenagers live fewer than 9 miles from their closest grandparent, and 20 percent live less than 1 mile away. “This means that grandparents can and do play important roles in their grandchildren’s lives,” she says.
Even grandparents who live far from their grandchildren are finding ways to stay involved. Here are some ways grandparents connect with their grandkids today: