Naya Rivera's Dad Says Her Son Josey, 5½, Has Conversations About Her: He Is a 'Really Strong Kid'

"He's growing up and handling it really well," George Rivera said of his grandson

Naya Rivera's father, George Rivera, is praising his grandson's strength as the family nears the one-year anniversary of the Glee actress' tragic death.

While chatting with Entertainment Tonight for a sit-down interview, set to air Wednesday, George, 64, said that Naya's son, Josey, 5½, asks about his late mother often. During the chat, he also praised Josey's father, Ryan Dorsey, and Naya's younger sister, Nickayla Rivera, for helping to raise the child.

"Nickayla and Ryan are doing a really great job," George told the outlet. "Tough situation, especially because he was there."

"It's not like you're talking about a ghost that's floating around, right? He's got memories as well, but boy is he coming around, right?" he continued. "Really strong kid."

"We handle him and we talk to him just like he's a 5-year-old going on six," George added. "It's no different but when he wants to talk about his mother, we talk about his mother, in conversation. He's growing up and handling it really well."

Ryan Dorsey and Naya Rivera
(L-R) Naya Rivera, Ryan Dorsey, son Josey. Ryan Dorsey/Instagram

Naya died in July 2020 at age 33 as a result of a drowning accident after she and her son rented a boat at Lake Piru in Southern California.

When the boat became overdue for return after its three-hour rental, the staff at the lake found the vessel at the north side of the lake with the star's sleeping son aboard. Naya's body was found five days later, and authorities believe the actress and singer died saving Josey.

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Lake Piru has been the site of several drownings over the years, and the actress' disappearance prompted a petition calling for signs warning swimmers of its dangerous conditions.

Naya was later buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles on July 24, according to her death certificate, which was obtained by PEOPLE.

RELATED VIDEO: Naya Rivera's Father Opens Up About His 'Heartbreaking' Final FaceTime Call with His Daughter

Earlier this month, George opened up to PEOPLE about the day his daughter died, revealing that he and Naya shared a FaceTime call shortly before her tragic accident.

Looking for a bit of advice while she was on the lake with Josey, George said, "She would always bounce stuff off me."

But when his eldest daughter informed him that the boat didn't have an anchor, George — who was taking a break from remodeling his home in Knoxville, Tennessee, when the call came through — instantly realized that jumping into the lake for a swim was a bad idea.

"I could see that the wind was blowing and my stomach was just cringing," recalled George, an avid boater. "I kept telling her, 'Don't get out of the boat! Don't get out of the boat! It will drift away when you're in the water.'"

After about three minutes, their FaceTime call cut out. "It was just heartbreaking," George added. "I had this bad feeling that was just killing me."

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