Topics on Aging

By Juan Gallo

How can we offer help for grandparents raising grandchildren?

March 28, 2022

Help for grandparents raising grandchildren

Last week, we opened the discussion of aging adults picking up the mantle of caregiving again. This week, I want to talk about how we can offer help for grandparents raising grandchildren.

It’s no secret that raising children is a monumental task, even for adults in their 20s and 30s. What happens when that responsibility falls to someone in their 50s, 60s or even 70s?

Due to their age, it would be irresponsible of society to think caring for children is just something that can be done without support. What if we had a system in place to identify seniors who are twice a parent?

In Broward and Miami-Dade counties, Children’s Home Network provides help for grandparents raising grandchildren with what is termed “kinship” services. Resources such as legal aid, food, clothing, counseling and help in applying for public benefits are offered to grandparents and other types of relatives raising children within their family. Call (888) 920-8761 to enroll.

If you don’t live in the counties Children’s Home Network serves, the state of Florida still provides Relative Caregiver Benefits. You can apply for them here.

Despite these resources, many grandparents still struggle to care for their grandchildren on their own. If you know someone in that situation, let them know what resources are available to them.

Provide a listening ear for folks struggling to navigate tricky situations. Most importantly, let them know you see their efforts and their struggles and appreciate everything they’re giving their grandkids.

However, you can support grandparents raising grandchildren more than you think. As a friend or family member, offer to watch the kids for even a couple hours, to give the grandparent caregiver a break. Perhaps you could drop off a full meal once a week or help with groceries. Maybe you could pick up one of the kids from soccer practice or run a quick errand to free up some time for the grandparent to take care of themselves.

You also can provide an emotional and mental support system. Grandparents on their second round as parents are carrying a lot. For example, can you imagine discussing sex education with your grandchild? Or helping your grandkids download the right app to do their homework?

Provide a listening ear for folks struggling to navigate tricky situations. Most importantly, let them know you see their efforts and their struggles and appreciate everything they’re giving their grandkids. I’m sure grandparents raising grandchildren could use some heartfelt encouragement most of all.

If you know someone who could use some extra support, contact us. Heart2Heart strives to be a part of the community-wide solution.

Juan Gallo
Juan Gallo is the CEO of Heart2Heart Outreach, where he oversees the mobilization of volunteers to provide hope, share love and restore purpose to the lives of the aging population across South Florida. He also serves as a local pastor and as an adjunct professor at Trinity International University, where he is teaching a course on diversity and aging. Juan has a master's degree in counseling and psychology and is a licensed mental health counselor intern.

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