I have been reading more articles than every before of the amounts of grandparents today who have taken in their children and their families. Financial reasons and problems with marriages seem to be the biggest factors for this. They are taking on the roles of parenting all over again. Not just baby-sitters, they are rearing the children while the parent(s) work(s).

I am amazed at the figures. In 1998, 3.9 million children younger than 18 lived in households headed by their grandparents, an 80 percent increase since 1970. Unfortunately, many of these grandparents should be enjoying their retirement.

Many are not physically and emotionally prepared to take on these rolls. Many had difficulty rearing the own children let alone the grandchildren. There are many issues that face these grandparents caregiving to their grandchildren: guardianship, who will care for the children if they die and much more.

Legislation needs to be passed to assist these grandparents who are generally from lower income brackets. Nationally, there must be more funding and support to help these Grandparents adjust to the changing times, the needs of the children and a myriad of other issues. This is another form of caregiving many of us have not given much thought to but it is something to think about as the numbers increase.

Copyrighted Gail R. Mitchell 6/17/99


  • Ms. Mitchell began her full-time caregiving experience in the early eighties when her husband was diagnosed with cancer. Later on she became the primary caregiver for her father, along with her mother who had become critically ill from burnout prior to her dad’s passing. In recent years, she cared for several friends with AIDS while continuing to care for her mother and actively providing support, information, referrals and resources for caregivers.

    Gail's leadership on the Internet and her success with Empowering Caregivers led her to found National Organization For Empowering Caregivers (NOFEC) INC in 2001.

    Prior to founding NOFEC, she created the iVillageHealth Chat: Empowering Caregivers, which she hosted for over 5 years. Within a month of hosting she created Empowering Caregivers: www.care-givers.com in 1999 as a resource for caregivers around the globe. Over three million visitors have frequented the website.

    She has presented at national and international care-related conferences and programs and has been a keynote speaker for many programs as well.

    Ms Mitchell has assisted thousands of caregivers online and offline in ways to empower themselves in their roles in caring for loved ones.

    For a list of clients and/or her resume, please contact info@care-givers.com

    Gail's articles have been published in many venues nationally and in Canada. Presently, she is a member of American Society on Aging and National Quality Caregivers Coalition.

    Gail has discovered that there is life after caregiving: She has become a successful ceramic artist and installation artist. She created Crystal Illumination Art to bring the transformative quality of illumination, light and color to the human experience and celebrate its ability to inspire, heal and nourish our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being.