Can I find someone to watch my grandkids?
Many communities have programs that will provide care for your grandchild while you do things like go to a doctor, go shopping, go to court or simply get some much-needed rest.
Check with your Area Agency on Aging or child welfare office to find out if there are relative caregiver respite programs in your state. You should also:
- Locate your state's GrandFacts fact sheet at www.grandfactsheets.org to find out what resources are available.
- Check out any "Morning Out" programs or drop-in child-care centers that may be available in your community.
- Ask about before- and after-school programs at your grandchild’s school
- Line up babysitters, such as local teenagers or your friends/family
- Trade care with other grandparent caregivers — you watch their kids one week and they watch yours the next week
- Check out mentoring programs for your grandchildren, such as the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program, after-school programs and Boys and Girls Clubs.
How can I get help if I'm feeling overwhelmed?
When you are raising grandchildren, you may feel overcome with emotions. You may feel grief, sadness, and a sense of loss and disappointment that your child wasn't able to raise his/her children. Or you may feel angry or resentful about having to take on this role. If your feelings are getting in the way of your day-to-day life, it can be helpful to talk to a mental health professional. Ask friends, family or your doctor for names of a therapist, counselor or social worker who does counseling. Or call your local department of mental health for a referral. Remember, by taking care of your own mental health needs you will be better able to care for your grandchildren.