Summer holidays are right around the corner and most parents are still scrambling to make sure the kids have enough activities to keep them busy during their break from school without breaking the bank.
For those lucky enough to have healthy, active grandparents willing to lend a hand, summer is a time to slow down and enjoy the special relationship the two generations often forge. But sometimes, being a grandparent isn’t just helping out for a week or two during summer break or lending a hand with driving and sick days. A growing number of retired seniors are taking a lead role in helping to raise their grandchildren.
According to United States Census data, 4.9 million American children are being raised solely by their grandparents and many more, nearly 13 million, are living in homes with their grandparents. In some cases seniors have moved in with adult children for financial reasons but more often households with three generations are a result of divorce, unemployment, substance abuse or because of a physical or mental illness.
And while some studies find that older adults who help care for their grandchildren may live longer, more intense caregiving can cause high levels of stress and have a negative effect on the mental and physical health of seniors. As with most things in life, finding a healthy balance is important and seniors need to also make time for their own self-care; keeping doctor appointments, getting regular exercise and maintaining important social connections.
To learn more about grandparents who care for their grandchildren and to access resources and support, visit the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) website by following this link.