Happy Grandparents’ Day!

Today’s blog written by Jo Ann Kalb, Geriatric Therapist

September 9th is a day we have set aside to honor grandparents.   I often hear grandparents remark that becoming a grandparent is the best; you get to spoil the kids and then send them home to their parents. However, some grandparents have chosen to forfeit their spoiling role to become surrogate parents. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 8.5 percent of Kentucky children live with their grandparents; about half of these grandparents have assumed full responsibility for these kids.

Who are these 49,001 Kentucky grandparents who have assumed responsibility for raising their grandchildren?  According to GrandFacts:

  • 87% are White and not Hispanic
  • 10% are Black/African American
  • 49% have no parents of the children present in the home
  • 72% are under the age of 60
  • 25% live in poverty

While statistics are informative they do not adequately capture the complexity and challenges facing these grandparents and grandfamilies.  These grandparents said ‘Yes’ to parent these kids because the birth parents were unavailable (death, incarceration, etc.), lacked the ability (drug/alcohol addiction, mental illness, etc.) and/or were unwilling to parent.  The role of surrogate parenting is fraught with numerous challenges. Yet there are places where these special grandparents can receive support on this journey.  If you want information about our Grandparent Support Groups, please contact Jo Ann Kalb at (502) 452-6341 ext 335, or visit the JFCS homepage.

For all you grandparents who have said ‘Yes’ to caring for your grandkids, thank you. You deserved to be celebrated, honored and appreciated in a very special way and more than just one day a year.


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