Relative Caregivers & Addiction | Aging Matters | NPT Reports

Relative Caregivers & Addiction | Aging Matters | NPT Reports


– [Announcer] NPT Reports Aging Matters. (calming music) – I’m caring for my granddaughter. Well I went and picked
her up five years ago right after school and
I’ve had her ever since. – I never thought that I would
be caring for grandchildren. I just assumed that I would
just get to spoil them and send them home. (calming music) – The Tennessee Commission
on Aging and Disability estimates that 77,000
grandparents are raising grandchildren who are living with them. Nationwide it’s at least 2.6 million. Those numbers are growing
because of opioid addiction. It could be an aunt or uncle,
it could be a grandparent situation it can be great
or great great grandparents. Now suddenly their days are built around the child’s schedule, having
to navigate the school system, navigate healthcare,
their legal issues with custody, it’s
impacting their finances. – You gonna teach me one day? – Nope. – No? – Nope. – I have been retired for
13 years now because I got Ta’Shaun and I wanted to
devote most of my life to him. We are actually cousins.
He was four weeks old, his father was already
incarcerated, his mother was going to be, and she
had taken him downtown to the state building to give him up. When I got him he did
have the tag on that said drug baby. I sang and prayed over him
every night and I asked God to let him be healthy ’cause
he didn’t deserve anything of that nature. I was an educator and I
know that he can excel and get away from this so, he did. (computer keys banging) – She’ll ask me if do I want
anything and I’ll say no, but then she’ll just keep
asking me and I’m like I already said no, please just stop. I love her as a person and
she’s like somewhat related to me so. My original mom couldn’t really
take care of me at the time ’cause of what position she was in. – Let me do the mouse. – No ’cause then my aim’s gonna be bad. – The outcomes of children
placed with relatives are just much better,
higher graduation rates, lower juvenile justice. A lot of our caregivers are the backbone. They could be the emotional,
social, or spiritual backbone of the family. So having it’s a natural fit
for them to care for that, but often times that can be
a very solitary or lonely role, so that’s one thing
that we like to support our caregivers by creating a
network of other caregivers that recognize that. Because our caregivers are
sacrificing a lot to raise their loved ones. (calming music) – How do you deal with
being the grandparent or being older. Like my granddaughter told
me that sometimes they get teased a lot about not
living with their parents. I know you live with your
grandma because I saw her and she an old grandma too. (laughter) – How do we protect our
children when they are no longer in our home and how do you
put those protective factors in now. – I think what we do as
caretakers, we want to not let them face the reality
of what is actually really there and we try to cover it up. So the best teacher is
dialoguing with them. Sit them down, how do you
feel and how can I help? – You know I know that I’m
the grandparent and I can never, ya know I can’t
replace their parents and that’s not really
by goal or my role now. I see my role as their tour guide. (calming music) – So we brought together
a number of volunteers who are experts and put together
a resource guide called Empowering Grandparents. We included information on
different stages of childhood development and what children
need at those stages, how to discipline at those stages. We included information on technology. What is SnapChat. What is Facebook. And how to take care of
yourself as a caregiver. So all of this information
was put into this guidebook and last year we updated it
and made it available online as well. (calming music)

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