As more grandparents become caregivers for their grandchildren (there are approximately 891 grandchildren under 18 years old who live with a grandparent householder in Franklin County) there are more and more resources, support groups and institutions they can utilize to better serve themselves and their grandchildren.
Support groups allow caregivers to share information, offer advice and receive help with issues that arise when raising a grandchild. Many cities across the state and nation have developed support groups for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. If you are raising a grandchild, a support group may be beneficial for you.
Support groups have many pluses. Research indicates attending support groups can be beneficial to your health as well as your emotional and physical well being. Having the social support of others can boost the immune system by reducing a person’s anxiety and psychological stress, especially if the members of the group effectively can relate and communicate with each other.
These groups also offer you the opportunity to talk to others who are dealing with similar circumstances and situations. Many times, you will find these individuals to be understanding, empathetic and full of practical advice. It is often relieving and reassuring to know that you are not alone. Group members can also provide comfort and encouragement.
Support group members can encourage each other to take care of themselves as well as keep a positive attitude, which will help both you and your grandchild in the journey. It is important to remember that support groups are not “pity parties”, but they are designed to provide an opportunity for people dealing with similar issues and circumstances to come together and discuss their feelings and thoughts.
Support groups are a great way for you to get practical information that can help you effectively raise your grandchild and navigate the legal system. If you are interested in becoming involved in a grandparents’ support group contact Tamera Thomas at 695-9035.
Source: AARP and Amy Hosier, extension specialist in family life education
Some help for grandparents
LEXINGTON – The 10th annual Bluegrass Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Conference is set for 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday, March 15 at the Clarion Hotel (formerly Holiday Inn North). The conference is for grandparents/relatives and professionals, and includes a variety of workshops on legal, financial, mental health and parenting topics.
The registration fee, including lunch, is $5 for grandparents/relatives and $50 for professionals (includes CEUs for social work and CLE for law). Contact the Fayette Extension Office, 859-257-5582 or cex.ca.uky.edu/Fayette/, for more information.