Nationwide, more than 2.6 million grandparents are raising grandkids.
In Tennessee, nearly 70,000 grandparents are responsible for their grandchildren living with them. Nationwide, more than 2.6 million people are raising grandkids. This number is increasing rapidly as more parents become addicted to opioids and are jailed, forced into treatment centers or die from overdose.
Regardless of the situation, there is limited information and resources available to assist grandparents as they become the primary caregiver for their grandchildren.
The role of grandparents can range from full custody to caring for children after school while parents work. Issues from custody arrangements, financial support and raising children in the technology age need to be discussed. Grandparents often lack key information about the range of support services, resources, programs, benefits, laws and policies available to help them successfully fulfill their caregiving role.
The Council on Aging of Middle Tennessee created Empowering Grandparents: A Guide for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren© to help grandparents navigate this role. COA also provides in-person and over the phone consultations.
Print copies are available for FREE at the COA office.
Empowering Grandparents: A Guide for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren© is a booklet addressing the needs of these caregivers by providing specific information, resources and support to assist in grandparents in this role covering topics such as:
Legal and Financial Matters
As Your Grandchild Grows
Relationships and Emotions
Children & Today’s Technology
Working With Schools
Changes in Children’s Healthcare
Taking Care of Yourself
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren | Aging Matters | NPT Reports
Tips for taking care of yourself while raising grandchildren:
- Do not let caring for your grandchild interfere with your medical appointments or filling your prescriptions.
- Update your doctor(s) on the change in your responsibilities as you begin caring for your grandchild.
- If you are still working, ask your employer for any programs that may offer assistance to you. The company might offer flexible hours or to work longer days in order to work less days.
- Eating properly will keep you energized and keep you on track for good health as well providing a good example for your grandchild.
- Ask for help. Make a list small and large ways family and friends can support you.
- Have a “family conference” of close and extended family members. Share how your life and other family members are changing.
- Let your friends know how you would still like to see them, but you might need to plan ahead.
- Utilize after school programs, summer break camps or babysitters to take a break for yourself. A break will help your mood and give you the opportunity to participate in activities you enjoy and maintain friendships.
- Seek out a support group for grandparents.
Websites Suggested for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren:
The Foundation for Grandparenting – to raise grandparent consciousness, discuss aspects of grandparenting news and resources or relatives raising children.
The Foster Care & Adoptive Community site purpose: training; share information between foster, adoptive families, and all other professions working with abused and neglected children.
grandfamilies.org: great site that contains GrandFacts, fact sheets for each state.
www.grandsplace.com-Great, well organized site for state, legal, financial and social resources for raising children.
Family Law Advisor home page – information on grandparent issues and state-by-state resources.