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The hidden battle of grandparent carers

There are many reasons why grandparents might be raising their grandchildren

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More grandparenting facts:

Did you know that there are 14 million grandparents in the UK.

1.4 million ( 1 in 10) of all grandparents are under 50 years of age

12.6 million ( 9 in 10) of all grandparents are over 50 years of age

At the age of 54 more than half the adult population are grandparents

The average age at which people become grandparents for the first time is between 48-52 years of age

The youngest grandparent is 28 years of age!

6 in 10 working parents use grandparents to look after their children.

Grandparents who look after their grandchildren to cover childcare do so for an average of 15.9 hours a week. This saves childcare costs of £3866 million.

On average grandparents have 4.4 grandchildren

2 in 10 ( 280,000) grandparents have no contact with their grandchildren. That means over 1 million children are denied contact.

It is important to develop the connection between children and grandparents because:

It helps to develop a sense of compassion and caring

Children who learn from a young age to care for others tend to grow into caring adults. Caring for pets, for the needy, for the elderly, or others can have a long lasting influence on the character development of kids.

It improves the lives of the elderly and end ageism

Many children have a bias toward the elderly. From viewing the aged as mean, weak, or ignorant to simply finding them socially unacceptable, many children grow up avoiding the elderly and even ridiculing them. The best way to combat this is to assure that children have plenty of opportunities from a young age onward to become better acquainted with such individuals. Their involvement will also improve the quality of life for those with whom they socialize or provide care.

It improves social acceptance of aging

As mentioned above, including the elderly in the lives of younger children assures a more ready acceptance of such individuals in later life. The benefits potentially go beyond this however. If children see elderly individuals dealing with disabilities and continuing on with their lives as either productive, happy, or loving individuals, then they will be more accepting of this process in their own lives in later years.

One example is the acceptance of assistive devices. Many adults reject the idea of using a cane or walker to maintain their balance. It's an aid to help them stay mobile and safe but they reject it as socially unacceptable however because it indicates disability. These same individuals accept a TV remote control without hesitation despite the fact that it performs a function they should be able to perform on their own without such an assistive device. The difference? One has been present since their childhood and is viewed as acceptable, the other has not. Perhaps if more children were accustomed to seeing walkers routinely, and seeing the individuals who use them as great people, their opinions would be different.

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