Grandparent caregivers are on the rise. Census data shows that there are approximately 2.4 million grandparents raising 4.5 million children. When the grandchild’s parents are unable or unwilling to care for the child, a grandparent may step in to assume responsibility for the child. It may be a temporary or permanent situation caused by a wide range of issues, including military deployment, illness/disability, incarceration, substance abuse, lack of resources, death, etc. These grandparent-headed households are often referred to as “grandfamilies.”
Grandparent caregivers face a number of challenges, aside from the obvious mental and physical stress of taking on the parenting role for a second time. They might neglect their own health needs for the those of the child. They might need financial assistance for the additional costs of caring for a child, medical and legal advice, or help with guardianship forms and public assistance.
Grandparent caregivers are often isolated from other caregivers and without awareness of support services, programs, benefits, or laws established to make their very trying job easier. Fortunately, grandparent caregivers are not alone. There is support available at the local and state level. Use this link to connect with key programs that are state specific to help find resources and benefits for “grandfamilies” provided through aarp.org.
These are resources for grandparent caregivers: