Basically, everybody knows a Yia Yia ( pronounced ya yaaa, with an accented second 'Yia'.)
Often here in Cyprus Yia Yia's are conspicuous by their uniform of black headscarf and clothes - ( when widowed) but not always - there are trendy young Yia Yia's coming along, - however the definition of the term, here at least, still applies ' -Yia Yia - a person who with old-school values that is hard core about respect and doing things the way they have always been done, especially with food, like a Greek grandmother.'
I was recently in the Paphos general hospital, visiting a patient. The elderly lady in the next bed had a Philipino helper, who referred to the lady as Yia Yia - this provoked thought - Yia Yia is as much a title / status as it is a term of endearment. If your'e a certain age, or a Grandmother, your'e everybody's Yia Yia. !!!! RESPECT ! It appears at a certain age - you need never to have had children to be a Yia Yia.
The Yia Yia ranks have so much to offer the younger generation, and often relationships between the elderly and the young are exceedingly strong. ( You can tell your Yia Yia things you wouldn't tell your parents)
Yia Yia's still know how to make cakes, lace, embroidery, and can produce a feast at the drop of a hat.
As a ' younger' ( dare I say it) 21st century Yia Yia, living 2000 miles away from my Grandchildren I rely on Cyber - Space to sustain relationships. I can only hope to aspire in some way to the values and richness of the older generation of my group, especially as I see them so respected and indeed revered here in Cyprus.
We simply MUST ensure that we don't 'dum down' the importance of Yia Yias, and loose the skills which they bring to the much younger generation.