In Oregon, there are 17,724 grandparents responsible for raising their grandchildren.
For these grandparents, this day may have a much different meaning. Stepping back into the role of parent, sometimes decades after caring for young children, can be challenging. Having to balance work and care, learn parenting skills of the 21st century, and manage the financial impact of raising children is not what many grandparents expected during what might have been their retirement years.
Furthermore, for every child in foster care being raised by a grandparent or other kin in Oregon, there are 14 who are being raised outside of foster care. This means that many grandparents are receiving limited to no assistance from government programs.
For grandparents raising grandchildren during the pandemic, the past 18+ months have been even more challenging. On top of the stress to keep themselves healthy, these grandparents have also been responsible for their grandchildren’s health as well as their education at home while schools were closed. We have also seen how the pandemic has exacerbated longstanding health disparities for BIPOC communities. These communities have experienced higher rates of infection, hospitalization and death when compared to white communities, while also having higher rates of multigenerational households where a grandparent is the primary caregiver. The implications of these facts resonate across Oregon.
This Grandparents Day, AGE+ honors all of the people who are celebrating as grandparents, while also acknowledging those who feel the loss of a more traditional grandparent role. We see you and your contributions—not only to the children you are raising, but to your communities.
If you are a grandparent or kinship caregiver, visit www.TiesThatBindOR.org for help and resources.
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