September 10th is National Grandparents Day, celebrating the wonderful and fulfilling role of being a grandparent. Interestingly, over time, the role of grandparents has diversified and includes grandparents as primary caregivers of grandchildren. Custodial grandparents are those grandparents who have legal custody of their grandchildren and are an often-overlooked group of caregivers. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as the death of the child’s parent, a parent’s mental illness, drug abuse, or a parent’s inability to care for the child.
A study published by North Dakota State University explored the role of the custodial grandparent, noting both perceived benefits and difficulties of older adults raising their grandchildren. While raising their grandchildren contributed to an increased sense of purpose, they often experience high levels of stress and a need for support.
In the Baton Rouge area, the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Information Center of Louisiana offers support and resources to custodial grandparents. This group is a real source of emotional support as well as informational support. Monthly support groups are held and are often accompanied by legal assistance. To find out more, their website can be found here.
Let’s celebrate all grandparents on this very special day!