Raising children can be stressful at the best of times, but imagine caring for grandchildren, full time, in your twilight years.
For WA Senior of the Year and Grandparents Rearing Grandchildren [GRG] president Jan Standen, it’s the stark reality that she sees almost every day.
GRG will soon begin operating in Gosnells, serving the South East Corridor, as it expands its services to support grandparents.
Standen, named WA Senior of the Year for her work with GRG, said grandparents caring full-time for grandchildren was more prevalent than ever.
“Undocumented there’s at least 6000 grandparents in WA raising their grandchildren full-time because their children can’t parent their own children,” she said.
“There’s a whole different range of reasons behind that. Drug addiction, methamphetamine use, alcoholism, mental health issues, incarceration or maybe all of those things.
“It’s hard on grandparents because they lose their friendship base, they’ve generally got no support, they’re not recognised as carers in the community or by organisations, they’re more a low -income earner doing the government a lot of favours by caring for the grandchildren.”
That’s where GRG steps in, providing support for grandparents who may be struggling to meet the needs of their grandchildren.
“We’ve got pro-bono legal support, we offer counselling services, we offer workshops, support sessions, meeting, barbecues, outings and anything the community can offer us because we don’t get any government funding.
“It’s all volunteers trying to support grandparents who are in an incredibly difficult situation.”
The move into Gosnells will support GRG’s efforts in regional areas and service the South East Corridor.
“Establishing friendships is crucial because as I said, grandparents lose that friendship base and they need support, and something as simple as friendships can go a long way.
“There’s a lot of grandparents doing it tough in the South East Corridor and I’m excited to start supporting as many as we can.”