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Opinion | Sexuality

Parented by Grandparents

The challenges of caretaking in middle age present new opportunities for outreach.
Parented by Grandparents
Image: Valentina Yachichurova / Flickr

A few weeks ago, I was at a McDonalds PlayPlace with my two grandsons, ages 6 and 11. There were a half-dozen other older caregivers in the room watching the kids burn off some of that Happy Meal energy. When a little girl took a tumble down a slide and cried, “Grandma!” we all rose to our feet to see if it was our grandchild who needed comforting.

Boomers hear a lot about the stresses of the "sandwich generation," caught between caring for aging parents while still raising our own families. Plus, now our parents are living longer, and our kids are having children later, placing this generational caregiving crisis in the midst of midlife.

Some in this demographic take on significant responsibilities as Grandma and Grandpa. As many as 1 in 10 kids in the US are being raised by a grandparent. According to the Census Bureau, more than 2.7 million grandparents serve as primary caregivers for their grandchildren. Another 670,000 do this job while reporting some ...

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