Life After 50 column on wmkvfm.org
“LIFE AFTER 50” COLUMN
ON AIR WMKVFM.ORG
AND WMKV 89.3 FM
It may not come as any surprise to you as a grandparent but the headlines this past week read: “Grandparents increasingly crucial to raising grandchildren.”
It certainly wasn’t to me. Two of my grandchildren shared my home for years along with their mother, my daughter. I loved it.
But today’s numbers indicate, as in an article by Hope Yea of the Associated Press, that America is becoming a grandparent state.
Lots of reasons. Today’s grandparents are younger, more energetic and far more involved. Besides many of them are baby boomers retiring more affluent than their parents ever hoped to be. Add into that mix adult children out of work, or addicted to drugs, or just walking out on parenthood.
Guess who steps into the mix in increasing numbers? Of course, grandparents.
Many baby boomer grandparents still work. And what is key is they have disposable income that means cash to spare. While many never thought they’d spend it on parenting again, increasing numbers are.
Statistics show 1 in 4 adults grandparents’ numbers are growing at twice the rate of the overall population and they also stick close to family or already have grandchildren living with them.
America is greying. Stats show 78 million boomers began turning 65 this year.
Instead of European tours and vacation homes many are re-investing in their grandchildren. They baby sit, run errands, take grandkids shopping, pay for health care and if necessary prove a home for them.
But grandparenting takes on newer responsibilities as well, supplementing adult children’s budgets by providing money for school supplies or tution, music and athletic fees, and even food.
In an economy slowed almost to a stall, grandparents every day assume more responsibility for their grandchildren’s well being. They worry America middle class that was enhanced by them as young people, is disappearing, and leaving only the poor and the rich classes
Many grandparents who assume parental responsibilities of their grandkids need help themselves. The government pays for foster parents to care for those kids. But it offers no aid for birth grandparents to house, feed and clothe their own grandkids. Many grandparents live only on fixed incomes, and the influx of the young and restless into their homes requires more bucks to make it work.
A government subsidy sure would help.
If you would like to reach me my email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or leave a message for me at the Cincinnati WMKV studios 782-2427. For WMKV this is Alice Hornbaker for "Life After 50" column heard on air at 89.3 FM public radio and wmkvfm.org on the Internet worldwide.
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