Grandparents give more than just wisdom

Sept. 11, 2004 at 3:55 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- A presidential proclamation, issued in 1978, designated the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day in the United States.

Marian McQuade of Fayette County, W.Va., hoped an observance of Grandparents Day might get grandchildren to tap grandparent' wisdom, but today many grandparents are full-time caregivers to their grandchildren.

Nationwide, 5.8 million grandparents live with one or more of their grandchildren under 18 years old, but most of these grandparents -- 4.5 million -- maintain their own household, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

About 2.5 million grandparents are responsible for most of the basic needs (i.e., food, shelter, clothing) of one or more of the grandchildren they live with -- these grandparents represent 43 percent of all grandparents who live with their grandchildren.

Thirty-five percent of grandparent caregivers are in their 50s, while 7 percent are in their 30s and 1 percent are age 80 and over.

Twenty-one percent of preschoolers are cared for primarily by their grandparents while their mother is employed or in school.

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