Over five million baby boomer grandparents are now raising their grandchildren. Many boomers already struggle with tight household budgets and some support adult children living with them. But when the grandchildren need help, baby boomers step in to care for them. Shouldering the cost of raising them, however, is taking a toll on baby boomers, physically, financially and emotionally.
According to the 2010 US Census, ‘5.4 million children in this country are now living with, and being supported by, grandparents. In addition, 2.7 million grandparents provide for the bulk of their grandchildren’s needs.’ Why are the children of baby boomers not raising their own children?
Today, roughly 10 percent of baby boomer children are not able to take care of their children, reports the Parent-empowerment-blog. While many of these parents suffer from substance abuse and mental illness, others are serving in the military and have been deployed or are spending time in prison. Other reasons include travel for jobs, poverty, death and removal from the home by the State for drugs and or child neglect.
Regardless of the reason, boomer grandparents step in to care for the grandchildren. Baby boomers are making sacrifices just to support their grandkid’s basic needs. Many are postponing retirement, overwhelmed by such major costs as:
- medical expenses;
- educational supplies;
- health insurance and;
- other basic household items.
Boomers are also find raising grandchildren to be emotionally stressful and physically exhausting. But despite the challenges they face, boomer grandparents make a huge difference in the lives of their grandchildren. They also find a greater sense of purpose and satisfaction in their own lives and feel the sacrifice is well worth it.
Other boomer grandparents financially support their grandchildren without raising them as the primary caregivers. MetLife Mature Market Institute reports 62 percent have offered monetary help to their grandchildren in the last five years.
Baby boomer grandparents will continue to step up to the plate and raise their grandchildren as the need arises. Many will sacrifice retirement plans and future dreams to juggle their grandchildren’s care with their own tight financial budgets. But family has always been a priority for the baby boomer generation. So baby boomers raise their grandchildren, giving these children the opportunity for a better life.