Grandparents should be taken on family holidays, says minister

Grandparents should be taken on family holidays, the minister responsible for tackling loneliness has said.

Mims Davies said British people could learn from how Mediterranean nations involve grandparents in their lives.

The new sport and civil society minister said that communities had a “moral duty” to stop the elderly feeling abandoned.

A 2017 report said loneliness was as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day .

Ms Davies, said: “Very often you will be out on holiday – a few of you in a small British family – and you will find this huge, wonderful plethora of people on the beach.

“And you will think, ‘God, doesn’t that look fun?’

“We are just a little bit blinkered. We have decided that we should box ourselves in a bit.

“I think when we are a little bit more bold about how we do things, we find so much more joy in it.”

Ms Davies, a former carer, said that being present for the final part of her parents’ lives was something she would “never regret”.

She added: “We are in a weird place when we are very willing to drag our children around into our lives and enjoy our lives with them together – but being that sort of extended family is seen as being a bit more difficult.”

Ms Davies wants employers to give staff more time off to look after lonely relatives – in a similar way to how reservists get time away to serve with the Armed Forces.

She said people should be able to “have an honest and open conversation with your employer about what is your work-life balance”.

The Commission on Loneliness was set up by the murdered MP Jo Cox and the government launched its first loneliness strategy in October.

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