Caring for grandchildren can strain the budget of grandparents

Many grandparents are currently raising their grandchildren, for various reasons. Whether it is because the parents have passed away or aren’t taking care of the children, grandparents are taking an active role to ensure these children stay within the family. This causes a financial strain for several reasons. However, more and more grandparents are choosing to make this sacrifice as time goes on.

Custody battles

Nothing can cause lifelong savings to disappear faster than a custody battle. Often, grandparents are forced to try to get custody from their own children or in-laws. This can be costly, draining the savings very quickly. When other family members continue to fight the court’s rulings, the process can take a long time. This may cause the grandparents to not only go through their retirement savings but take out loans to cover the expenses.

Medical and educational expenses

Children born with special needs are often being raised by grandparents. When parents choose a life of drugs or alcoholism or they can’t deal with the stress of raising a child with emotional or physical needs, it’s often the grandparents who take on the role. Many of these special needs require surgeries, therapy, medications and repeat doctor visits that become costly. Learning disabilities may be more severe than the public schools in the area can handle, forcing the caregivers to find private help they have to pay for out of pocket. While many of these children qualify for financial aid, it rarely covers all expenses.

Regular expenses

Even when the child doesn’t have special needs, it can be expensive to raise children. Food costs, clothes, braces or eye glasses can be costly. All children have things they want and loving grandparents try to provide for those, as well. Bigger houses may be necessary when raising more than one grandchild. Vehicles need to be large enough and dependable to handle the additional residents. When teenagers  or young, single women have a child, the added costs of diapers and baby supplies on top of still raising or caring for the baby’s parent is exhaustive. These expenses add up quickly, taxing the grandparents.

Income challenges

Grandparents have a much harder time raising the funds to care for grandchildren than parents often have. This new role often forces them to take an early retirement, which usually means getting less income. Many grandparents survive on Social Security benefits which often don’t offer enough to pay for the grandparents to survive, let alone grandchildren. These challenges may force these special caregivers to try to find work or take on additional jobs. Depending on where they live, finding a job may not be possible when competing with much younger, more energetic people looking for work.

Grandparents who are raising their grandchildren are to be respected. They are taking on a role that they never expected. That role brings with it financial hardship, as well as emotional and physical exhaustion. However, it can be rewarding. They have the satisfaction of knowing they are making a difference in the life of the grandchild. That can make it all worthwhile when the decision is made out of love.