Generally, society has it that the adult children start to take on the role of caring for the aging parent. This typically includes those of the grandparent age range—they can be as young as 40 and old as a centenarian. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to this subset. However, recent statistics show that there is an ever-changing dynamic that has been occurring over the past several years where grandparents are now caring for their grandchildren. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 7.5 million or 10% of children in the United States live with grandparents and include a household with at least two grandchildren. In addition, approximately 15% of grandparents care for their grandchildren while the parent(s) works.
The reasons for this can be vast in nature and include, but are not limited to: unmarried teen mothers, divorce, drugs, mental health issues, sickness and/or economic issues.
There are concerns, however, for the grandparent who is ‘chasing’ around an active child. Studies show that 670,000 disabled grandparents are responsible for grandchildren. It can be increasingly difficult and perhaps downright dangerous for an elderly person who has physical limitations to safely take care of a younger child. Not only can it be physically frustrating, but emotionally, as well.
Putting into place safety measures within the home would be the key to reducing the risk of falls and accidents—not just for the grandparent, but for the younger child, as well.
Safety tips to consider:
- If you’ insist‘ on picking up your bundle of joy, make sure you have the proper back support to avoid injury.
- Prevent your your grandchild from wandering outside with a door alarm that alerts you that your grandchild has decided to exit the house!
- If you have limited mobility, integrate the proper assistive devices to help you get around more easily.
- Getting out of the house to get the much needed fresh air and movement for both you and your grandchild is important. But if you are not 100% confident on your feet, be sure to use the appropriate walking aids.
- If you use a walker of scooter, consider using ramps around the house to prevent yourself from falling over a step or uneven walkways.
- More than likely, you will need to do food prep and cooking for your little one. However, if you suffer from arthritis, this can be a challenge. Keeping the right kitchen tools around to help simplify and avoid the chances of injuring yourself is highly recommended.
Lastly, always protect yourself from sustaining a fall by making sure all objects are out of the main walkways—toys, balls and any other items that may clutter thesw areas. You may want to consider installing baby gates to keep your grandchild in an area that you have control of and easy access to.