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 Seven Tragic Ds

This past Sunday marked the annual celebration of Grandparentsí Day.  I hope you took the time to thank a grandparent for all they do for their grandkids.  And, frankly, that has proven to be quite a lot. According to our good friend, Sandra Timmermann, Ed.D, director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute, grandparents annually provide 370.7 billion dollars in financial support for their grandchildren.

In particular, I would like to salute those six million Americans who are grandparent caregivers.  You should, in fact, be honored each and every day of the year for the role you play in the lives of your grandchildren.  So many times, the causes for grandparent caregiving are attributed to what I call the Seven Tragic Ds which have affected their own children, leaving their grandchildren in need of care. The Seven Tragic Ds are Death, Disease, Divorce, Disinterest, Depression, Dollars and Drugs. 

Often, grandparent caregivers are the first safety net for children who are abandoned, whose parents are deemed unfit due to drugs, alcohol, violence or mental illness, or whose moms and dads aren't much more than babies themselves. The AARP found the trend significant enough that it founded the Grandparent Information Center in 1993 to assist these caregivers, especially those in "skipped-generation" households where a grandparent is raising a grandchild with no parent in the home.  Not only are you possibly dealing with your spouseís, your parentsí and/or even your own healthcare challenges, but you are expected to fit into those elementary school desks once again for the parent teacher meetings.

We are proud that so many grandparents and relative caregivers join us at the Fearless Caregiver Conferences.  The interactions between participants are more lively, the advice more sage and the day more fun with each and every grandparent caregiver who joins us for the day.  


Gary Barg

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