Families Are Relying On Grandparents More Than Ever

Grandparents are saving the day for many families financially and as caregivers.

Yes, it happens to be the ten-year anniversary of September 11, but it’s also Grandparents Day, and boy do they deserve to be celebrated more than ever. Many families rely on grandma and grandpa to help make ends meet (and as Madeline wrote recently, it’s not such a bad thing to have grandparents more present in kids’ lives.)  But, what happens when the grandparents – and their money- is gone?  It seems as parents  continue to consume and over-schedule with lessons and sports, grandparents are often helping with the bills. They’ve become the financial safety net in many families that are making less money and having a hard time keeping up.

In my own experience, I watched my grandparents help out for a lot of the big ticket items we needed — like my braces and other things here and there. Now I find myself helping where I can as my grandmother is recently widowed and on a very fixed income. I’m not implying that the roles are completely reversed, because she is still able to provide for herself comfortably and I have my own family with financial struggles like everyone else. But my kids’ grandparents (my parents and my husband’s parents) now step in for us when needed. Of course we’d never ask them to pay for frivolous or recreational things (I think if things are tight that sacrifices should be made), but if in an emergency, we’d definitely be able to go to them for help. And, like many parents these days the grandparents are usually our only (free) babysitter, and that helps out tremendously.

Do your kid’s grandparents play a big role in their lives to help out or make ends meet?