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The Rise of “Grandfamilies”

By , 11:45 pm on

Most aging adults look forward to entering into retirement and taking it easy as empty nesters. Yet more and more seniors are finding themselves repeating a stage of life as they take on the responsibility of raising their grandchildren. Grandfamilies – It’s the term that has been coined for this recent parental trend occurring in families across America. As reported by USA Today, the number of grandparents raising their children’s children is over 2.5 million.

At Home Care Assistance West Bloomfield, we’re always looking to educate our readers on new trends taking place in today’s society and gandfamilies caught our attention. It is our goal to help promote independence for seniors and the concept of grandfamilies highlights just how that independence can benefit a senior’s children and grandchildren.

In a grandfamily, grandparents help raise the children alongside the parents in one home. As so, the senior tends to take a more standoff, less authoritative role to allow the parents to assume their responsibility and not to overstep any boundaries. Grandma or grandpa is simply there for support and reinforcement. In some cases, the caregiving grandparent(s) take on the role of sole caretaker, and the child’s biological parents are barely in the picture, if at all.

Many grandparents love their grandchildren as if they were their own. However, raising children for the second time around is different. One major factor contributing to this difference is a change in health. Certain health conditions may not allow the grandparent to be as actively involved. Cooking, cleaning and executing discipline may all require more energy when raising grandchildren as well. For this reason, seniors should be cautious of overwhelming feelings, and seek assistance if needed. When the caregivers are not in good health, it can jeopardize the quality of the live-in home care.

As grandfamilies rise in number across the nation, a number of support groups and resources have come about, specifically designed to help older adults who are caring for their grandchildren. These groups are helping keep families together, highlighting the benefits of this type of care rather than its downfalls.

Regardless of the circumstances, a grandfamily comes with rich benefits. There is nothing like the warmth and care that comes from a grandparent’s heart. Along with the benefits provided to the children, there are also many benefits for seniors and older adults. While caring for children, seniors will have no problems feeling needed, helping to promote self- worth and self-esteem, two feelings that commonly decline during the elder years of life.