You may have an idea in your mind of a dreamy retirement filled with sunny vacations in out of the way locations, and romantic walks hand in hand with your loving spouse. But, there is a not often talked about reality, and that is the squeeze of helping to raise grandchildren and caring for aging parents. It can drain a retiree financially, physically, mentally and emotionally and if that retirement aged individual is still working that can add even more stress to a tough situation.
According to AARP some 3 million seniors are raising their grandchildren. The Nov 6, 2016 article points out that the children are being taken care of by grandparents because the parents are incapable of providing care. Further more, research found that seniors who raised grandchildren were more likely to suffer from both physical and mental health problems according to this same article.
When my grandson came to live with me it was not as difficult as it is for some my grandson was already a teenager, so we had a different set of concerns and challenges with him. But still, as easy and as glad as I was that he was with us there was heartbreak at first, over his parents. Then the normal worry of raising a teenager. A well behaved and respectful teenager, but a grandmother still worries. There were late nights and driving lessons and all the things we had already done with are children. And we were lucky again because our parents are healthy.
That’s not the way it is for some 10 to 12 percent of seniors serve as full time caregivers to a parent in their now this does not look at caregivers who are doing double duty and caring for children also but it happens I know it happens. my mother did it and her mother did it. So, no it’s not a new phenomena it is happening more frequently. More frequently because people are living longer and there is an acute lack quality affordable assisted living for the elderly.
We need to pay attention to this because it is a quality of life issue for every one involved in the meantime here are three things you can do to ease the squeeze.
- Ask for help! ask a neighbor, ask a relative, ask a friend, or if your lucky enough to afford it pay for help.
- Take a break, take a walk, take a bath, take a nap, take twenty minutes just for you.
- Journal take a few minutes and write your thoughts down get them out of your head and down on to paper. It will make you feel lighter. You may thin in the grand plan of your life that writing down your feelings or taking a bath or asking someone to watch the kids for an hour is little comfort, but in the end its always the little things that count.