Grandparents Raising Grandkids

By: Nichole Vrsansky
By: Nichole Vrsansky

They should be empty nesters, retirees, but many grandparents are now parents again.

More than seventy-five hundred seniors in our area are raising their grandchildren. It's a growing trend across the nation. But our community is lending a helping hand.

Bonnie and David Young never expected to have three bouncing baby boys to raise at the age of sixty.

"I was expecting to retire and go to Wisconsin and work for the packers," says David.

Grandma and grandpa adopted grandsons Travis, Colton and Skyler. Their mom and dad could no longer handle the responsibilities of parenthood.

"It’s scary. There are a lot of us who do this job now. It’s not easy," says Bonnie.

More than 4.5 million seniors across the country are not retiring, they're re-parenting. Substance abuse, divorce and incarceration are just a few reasons why kids are heading to grandma's house. Support groups have sprouted across the stateline to help ease the burden.

"With a group like this, sharing with each other the trials that they’re going through and the joys. Every single one of these folks here will tell you, sure we have our trials, but the joys far overcome that,” says Support Group Facilitator Pam Oberholtzer.

Bonnie and David know they're not as young as they were the first time around. But the trade-off, they say, is that they're much wiser.

"I have more patience. I take time for the little things. If the house doesn’t get vacuumed, the house doesn’t get vacuumed. They're only little once and you only have one chance. We’re making the best of it," says Bonnie.

The Young’s say they're still living the golden years because they know the boys are happy and healthy in their care.

If you are interested in a Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Support Group, you can call the Boone County Council on Aging at 544-9893.

23 WIFR 2523 North Meridian Road Rockford, IL. 61101 Business: 815-987-5300 Fax: 815-965-0981 News: 815-987-5330 Fax: 815-987-5333
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