Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

In today’s world, it’s increasingly common to find grandparents who have assumed responsibility for raising a grandchild or grandchildren. For seniors already on a tight budget, this can stretch resources even thinner and lead to frustration at generational differences. However, raising grandchildren can also provide seniors with a sense of fulfillment that counteracts other stressors on physical and mental health. What are some of the policies and challenges that experts predict will impact grandparents raising grandchildren?

Policy Challenges

One of the biggest challenges that many grandparents raising grandchildren face is a lack of formal custody. Because most grandparents are informal caregivers, it makes it harder to get the children the healthcare and education that they need. Only 28 states grant grandparents the ability to enroll a child in school, and 8 states still prevent grandparents from making medical decisions on behalf of their grandchildren. Additionally, only 27 states have legislation in place that gives preference to family members like grandparents over placing a child in foster care. Legislators are becoming more aware of problems facing grandparents who are the primary caregivers for their grandchildren and the obstacles they might face.

The Pros and Cons of Raising Grandchildren

Raising grandchildren is a hard decision, but many grandparents feel as if they have no choice if otherwise the child might be placed in foster care or a negative situation. Some of the challenges that grandparents face include:

  • Concerns about parenting ability if their children were unable to successfully parent and care for their grandchildren
  • Physical limitations that might make it harder to keep up with a young child
  • Adapting to generational differences and setting boundaries that didn’t necessarily exist for their own children (social media, cell phones, screen time, etc.)

While there are difficulties, there’s also plenty to be excited about. Many grandparents find themselves being more patient and understanding with their grandchildren. They also can draw on their wealth of experience parenting their own children, which might soothe worries that a first-time parent would otherwise have. That same experience can help to reduce the impact of the cons and lead to parenting being an overall positive, rewarding experience. When grandparents are able to receive support, whether financially or through policies, parenting grandchildren can be one of the best experiences of their lives.

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Deborah Bakalich, Certified Senior Advisor®
Deborah Bakalich, Certified Senior Advisor®
Owner, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA®) & Assisted Living Placement Specialist - Senior Care Lifestyles, LLC provides compassion, guidance and recommendations to families faced with transitioning a loved one into Assisted Living, Dementia/Alzheimer’s Care, Skilled Nursing, Temporary Respite Care or a Continuous Care Retirement Community. Senior Care Lifestyles was founded in 2014 by Deborah Bakalich, a Certified Senior Advisor and graduate from both Towson University and Stevenson. Senior Care Lifestyles is uniquely positioned as a local (not National) Maryland based placement firm familiar with Maryland senior care facilities and in-state financial assistance programs for senior residents. They meet personally with each family to understand the seniors care needs including medical, personal lifestyle preferences, budget, religion and desired geographic location. They pride themselves in locally guiding and educating families through the entire maze of senior living options available and will schedule tours on behalf of the family and accompany the family on visits of communities. They are passionate and committed to finding the perfect match to call home and stays with the family throughout the entire process, every step of the way, until a decision is made, and the senior is safely moved into their new home. Senior Care Lifestyles can also provide the family with trustworthy, vetted, and reputable experts to assist with the transition for organizing, packing, moving, sale of real estate, estate planning, legal services, and determining eligibility for State, Federal and Veterans Benefits to assist with care costs. Deborah is a proud member of the Maryland Senior Resource Network (MSRN) where she has served as Vice President on the Board of Directors. She is a member of the Alzheimer’s Organization, Society of Certified Senior Advisors, Mid-Atlantic Network Group and a member of the Business Opportunity Network (BON).

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