Question: A neighbor of mine was recently awarded full custody of her two young grandsons. She is a loving, devoted grandparent, but sometimes she seems overwhelmed by her responsibilities. A friend suggested your agency might offer some assistance. Is this something you do?
Answer: An estimated 3 million grandparents are raising more than 7 million grandchildren in the United States, according to the Census Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Massachusetts, more than 35,000 grandparents are responsible for their grandchildren, nearly one-third of them without any parent being present. and the number of these intergenerational families has been rising each year.
While a grandparent may willingly enter this new relationship, it can be challenging as well as rewarding. The grandparent must be able to provide a safe, nurturing, and stable home environment for the grandchildren. In some instances, the grandparent may be able to function independently, and the children will thrive. Other grandparents may require support and assistance on an immediate or ongoing basis.
Grandparents may need financial assistance, education resources for their grandchildren, or could benefit from participation in support groups where they can learn from other grandparents facing a similar situation.
The pandemic created additional dilemmas for many families who found themselves caring for children while managing their own needs related to work, health, etc. Grandparents may need to be encouraged to take care of themselves during this unsettling time.
Through our Family Caregiver Support Program, a grandparent can work with a highly trained professional to provide them with information regarding resources available, someone to lend an ear, and a helping hand along the way.
To be eligible, a person must be at least 55 years old and have legal custody of a grandchild. The services of the Family Caregiver Support Program are offered free of charge. These include funding to give parents respite opportunities in two areas. After school respite can pay for a variety of programs for grandchildren, such as sports, art classes, and more.
Campership scholarships pay for children to attend summer programs and camps.
Such services provided a much-needed break from the demands of childcare. For more information, have your neighbor contact us or visit https://agespan.org/solutions/caregiver-support/