Friday, September 30, 2011

Colorado Grandparents Living on the Edge

Grandparents Day 2011: Sept. 11

"I'm disabled and barely surviving on social security. My adult children live with me because there are no jobs. Medicare premiums went up so my social security is less this year than last. But the cost of everything is going up. We keep the heat down and eat cheap but the grandchildren need better food and clothes. I'm terrified. I don't want to be an old bag lady..." Colorado's One Away Campaign

Census Bureau statistics paint a story of Grandparents as Caregivers:

6.7 million The number of grandparents whose grandchildren younger than 18 lived with them in 2009.

2.7 million The number of grandparents responsible for most of the basic needs (i.e., food, shelter, clothing) of one or more grandchildren who lived with them in 2009. These grandparents represented about 40 percent of all grandparents whose grandchildren lived with them. Of these caregivers, 1.7 million were grandmothers, and 1 million were grandfathers.

8% Percentage of grandparents living with grandchildren who were caring for their grandchildren and whose income was below the poverty level. This represents half a million grandparents.

$45,007 Median income for families with grandparent-caregiver householders and/or spouses. If a parent of the grandchildren was not present, the median dropped to $33,417.

1.6 million The number of grandparents who were in the labor force and also responsible for most of the basic needs of their grandchildren.

700,000 Number of grandparents with a disability who were caring for their grandchildren.
If Colorado is serious about poverty reduction they must be serious about expanding resources for the aging population and recognize the stability elders provide for their families and their communities. For more information on what it takes to make ends meet and age in place please see the Colorado Elder Economic Security Standard Index. For more information on the role of Colorado in the re-authorization of the Older Americans Act go to check out this article.

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