In a recent study conducted by Boston University and published in The Gerontologist, researchers concluded that close relationships between adult children and their grandparents have far-reaching health benefits for both, including increased mental acuity and the reduction of depression symptoms. In addition, this intergenerational togetherness was found to promote the exposure to new ideas and the sharing of life wisdom.
Edward DeMeters and his grandson Cory Young understand, first-hand, the importance of these close bonds. Cory works at Greenspring, an Erickson Living community in Springfield, Va., where his grandfather has lived since 2005. As a result, the two spend time together on a daily basis.
"I consider myself very fortunate because I not only have a job I love but, because of that job, I am able to spend time with my grandfather," says Cory. "Some days we see each other for a quick hello and other times, I visit him before I head home for the day for a meal or to catch up on what is going on in each of our lives."
In 2002, as a high school junior, Cory began working at Greenspring. His great aunt, who was living at Greenspring at the time, suggested he apply for a job as a server in one of the community's five on-site restaurants.
"She was so impressed by the high school students who worked as servers," he says. "She enjoyed their daily interactions and conversations."
Heeding his great aunt's advice, Cory was hired as a server and has worked at Greenspring ever since. Over the last sixteen years, he completed both college and graduate school, earning numerous promotions, and now serves in the role of general manager of Greenspring's Fireside and Potomac Café restaurants.
"My family led me to Greenspring and through the years Greenspring became my family," he says. "There's something special about working for a community that genuinely cares about both its residents and its staff members."
In 2005, Cory's grandfather Edward DeMeters moved to Greenspring. As a former World War II fighter pilot he quickly found new friends in the community's aviation club.
"Greenspring is a great place to live," says Edward. "One of the biggest benefits is access to everything I need, right here on campus. I have also made many great friends. We all look out for each other."
But the best part about life at Greenspring is being close to his grandson.
"Words can't describe the advantages of having Cory here, he says. "It's a great feeling to know that we can see each other whenever we want. My daughter, Cory's mother, also lives nearby. It means a lot to me that we are able to spend time together as a family."
The feelings are mutual.
"I will never take for granted how lucky I am to spend time with my grandfather," says Cory. "He is one of my best friends."
About Greenspring: Greenspring, one of 19 continuing care retirement communities managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 58-acre campus in Springfield, Virginia. The community is located in Fairfax County and is home to nearly 2,000 residents who are supported by a team of more than 1,000 employees. Additional information about Greenspring can be found at GreenspringCommunity.com.
Photo: Greenspring's dining services general manager Cory Young enjoys spending time with one of his best friends, his grandfather Edward DeMeters, who lives at the popular community.