Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Help for Seniors Parenting Again

Are you a senior responsible for raising grandchildren or other relative children?  You are not alone.
According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (“AAMFT”), in the last 30 years, there has been a significant increase in the number of custodial grandparents. The AAMFT estimates that there are approximately 2.4 million grandparents raising 4.5 million children due to such circumstances as the mental or physical illness, death, incarceration, or drug addiction of the parents. See
Worried about making ends meet on a fixed income, their own health issues and the high cost of medical care, it makes sense that many seniors find themselves feeling angry, resentful or overwhelmed with having to deal with the emotional issues and behavioral challenges that raising grandchildren can present.  But there are significant resources and support available for seniors who find themselves again in the role of caregiver, especially here in Brevard County.  
In 1995, Mary Ann Sterling started Grandparents Raising Grandchildren of Brevard, Inc. (“GRG”), a non-profit relative care agency in Rockledge, Florida, after the untimely death of her own daughter left her raising her six-year-old grandson. Ms. Sterling realized she and others in her situation needed help. She created GRG to help families impacted when a person in their family becomes unable or unwilling to care for offspring. GRG provides support and advocates for grandparents and other relative caregivers and their families. According to Ms. Sterling, there are currently over 8,500 children living in relative care families in Brevard County, which she points out is enough to fill ten Brevard County public schools. GRG has on staff lawyers to help families with these issues and facilitates several grandparent support groups throughout Brevard. Learn more at by calling Tel: (321) 631-7776 or by visiting
Statewide, Grandparents and others can call the University of South Florida School of Social Work Kinship Support Center “Warmline” at 1-800-640-6444 or visit for more assistance. They might also find helpful The Kinship Care Legal Handbook: a Guide for Relative Caregivers found online at
In addition my work as a divorce, family, and elder mediator at Peaceful Beach Mediation, I volunteer my time with various local organizations dedicated to the strengthening of families in our community.  If I can ever be of service to or a resource for you, please do not hesitate to contact me at (321) 626-2858 or

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