More seniors are taking care of grandchildren

When you close your eyes and think of the word ‘grandparent, what comes to mind? If it’s an image of a older lady or gentleman, in their rocking chair, relaxing and reading the newspaper, that’s certainly true of many seniors. But as reported recently by the Huffington Post, many seniors are taking on new responsibilities: raising their grandchildren.

The Post reports that, according to recent American census data, eight per cent of grandparents in the United States live with a grandchild, and nearly three million grandparents are the primary caregivers for at least one grandchild.

As reported by the news source, a recent study from the University of Chicago found that lower-income grandparents are also less likely to act as caregivers for their grandchildren, primarily because their wealth allows them to hire daycare staff or other assistance.

“Day care assistance may be particularly needed by middle-aged grandparents who are juggling multiple role obligations — as parent, a grandparent and a paid employee,” Linda Waite of the University of Chicago wrote in the study.

The Huffington Post also reported that a majority of grandparents in the United States have also provided their grandchildren with average financial assistance of nearly $90,000- a significant amount, especially given the need many seniors have for assisted living communities for themselves.