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Friday, February 25, 2011

Grandparents as Parents (GAP): Help for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (Video)


They thought they were finished living with children and definitely finished raising them. But that is not their reality. At a time when they are dealing with their own aging and illnesses, many grandparents and even some great grandparents are raising children. They belong to a growing population of older adults responsible for millions of children whose biological parents are not taking care of them. These caregivers never reached that cherished destination of unending childfree years after their own adult children left home. Even grandparents in their seventies are part of this widening circle.

Although we usually hear about couples or grandmothers raising their grandchildren, I have a male friend in his sixties who is raising his two grandchildren alone. Like many others, he is surprised that he has had to assume these life-changing responsibilities during the retirement years he planned most of his working life. Unfortunate circumstances usually are the cause of these unexpected caregiving roles. The amazing part, however, is how well many grandparents and grandchildren adjust to their new lifestyle changes. But the financial, physical, and emotional challenges involved can be very stressful. 

The Grandparents as Parents (GAP) program is a community based organization in the Los Angeles County area that provides emotional support, educational services, counseling, funding for social activities, and other resources for grandparents and their grandchildren. Other nonbiological caregivers rasing children are also assisted. Visit this AARP site for more information about support for grandparents raising grandchildren. 

This video titled “Grandparents Raising Kids” highlights the Henderson family: