HomeLEAPS: Miriam College Faculty Research Journalvol. 28 no. 1 (2007)

The Filipino Grandmother in California

Lourdes U. Agbing

Discipline: Health, Family and Relationships, Morality



This study aimed to find out the physical and psychological environments of grandmothers in a three-generation family to guide health care professionals in their program planning for older adults. Subjects were 10 grandmothers aged 65 90, with children and grandchildren and residing in California for 10 years. A structured and semi-structured instrument and telephone interviews were employed.


All respondents had their own bedroom although 3 shared a common bathroom with the grandchildren. The grandmothers performed multiple roles and different tasks for the younger generations. Their conversation topics included morals, health, school, future plans and relationships. Their mode of communications showed a rosy environment. However, they also described hurt feelings and pain due to perceived negative communication behaviors of the younger generations. But they kept these feelings to themselves or ignored them, in order to keep the family intact, or for them to continue living with the younger generations. Data seem to imply that the psychological and emotional pain caused by the younger generations might be taking a toll on the general well-being of the grandmothers.


Respondents employed strategies to ease their pain, cope with loneliness and enable them to continue living with the younger generations.


Grandmothers play an important role in Filipino homes, particularly in imparting and perpetuating family and cultural values, in fostering solidarity among its members, and in encouraging high morals and integrity. The study showed the limited extent to which the 10 participants were able to perform these roles. Pre departure counseling for immigrant older adults is suggested.