When you pictured your golden years as a young parent, what did you envision? Likely, you dreamed of a comfortable retirement, maybe some travel visiting with and spending quality time making memories with the grandkids.
What you probably didn’t picture was having to delay your retirement plans — and perhaps put off retiring at all — because you had to rear your own grandchildren.
Sadly, there are a number of California grandparents age 65 and older who face the task of rearing their own grandchildren because the kids’ parents are not up to the task. Some parents have passed away, while still others are incarcerated or addicted to drugs and too irresponsible to raise their own families.
So, the responsibility for these young lives then falls to the senior citizen grandparents, whether they can afford to do it or not. For some, they feel that they have to step up to prevent their grandkids from winding up in “the system,” moving in and out of a series of shady foster homes.
But these noble decisions and actions can come with a steep price. Both the grandparent caretakers and the young grandchildren can find themselves living at or below the poverty line. Even when there are sufficient resources to meet the families’ needs, the grandparents are all too aware that they may not be around to see the kids reach adulthood.
It’s a troubling situation for vulnerable victims. The grandparents may neglect their own worsening health in order to continue to be there every day for the grandkids. They could put off life-extending treatments or operations out of fear that the children would be taken from them.
If you are a Pleasanton grandparent who is rearing your own grandchildren, one thing that could help you is seeking legal custody of the kids. Doing so could potentially make you eligible for stipends for the kids’ care. At the least, it protects you should the parents show up high at your doorway one day demanding to see the kids or take them away with them.