As many parents continue to work from home while their children navigate virtual school, the role of many grandparents has expanded to include tutor and/or full-time babysitter. This Sunday, September 13, Grandparents Day, is a timely opportunity for families to show their elders how much they are appreciated and valued. Seniors living in isolation can also benefit from safely distanced small gatherings or a virtual family hang-out.
Not only do many grandparents offer their adult children vital help; more so during these challenging and uncertain times. But a growing number are also doing the job of raising their grandchildren. According to the Administration for Community Living, an estimated 2.7 million American children live in a “grandfamily” household without their parents in the home. These older family caregivers may face challenges ensuring children are getting a proper education, healthcare, nutrition, and security, especially if seniors have health or financial challenges themselves.
The Advisory Council to Support Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act of 2018 offers resources and advocacy to help older adults raising grandchildren. Greater awareness and understanding of kinship families can help children thrive while reducing the stigma associated with these households. During the pandemic, intergenerational families may face increased challenges with remote learning, accessing food, finding sanitizing and protective equipment, or accessing special education support.
Local state and provincial health and education departments along with federal initiatives can help older adults secure food assistance, free Wi-Fi, and education support measures. By dialing 2-1-1, families can access help to find the appropriate agencies and organizations with resources to assist during times of crisis.
Learn more about resources for older adults and caregivers by following this link to the National Council on Aging or visit Grandparents Plus for kinship carer in the UK. Don’t forget to give a grandparent, by blood or by choice, some extra love this weekend.