As a Sandwich Generation senior home care giver and grandmother, I am blessed with lots of fun grandkid time with each of my grandkids. I do a lot of babysitting, caregiving, and just plain having fun. They occasionally spend the night, but that's about it.
For many Sandwich Generation grandparents, however, that's not the case. There are plenty out there who have full or partial guardianship of their grandkids – whether officially or unofficially. Hero's Ransom, the book I reviewed last week, brought up an interesting point that I wanted to explore a bit further. Briefly, so as not to give away any of the plot, the grandmother found herself in some murky water due to insufficient documentation as her grandkid's guardian.
That's really easy to do – for any and all of us. Life is unexpected. Everything can be hunky dory one minute and upside down the next. A parent dies, develops a terminal illness, or just takes off unexpectedly, and in the blink of an eye a grandparent can be left to carry on with the grandkid without any legal protection for the grandchild or the grandparent. Depending on the state you live in, without those vital documents, your grandkids might not be able to go to the doctor's, start a new school, or get to stay with you!
It's so important for each of us to stop and think through now, while everything is ok, what do we need to have set up to protect everyone. Hopefully each of our adult kids has a will, along with a designation of guardianship for the grandkids – whether to the grandparents or to someone else, with provision for the grandparents to get to visit. It's also a good idea to have an emergency release form giving doctors permission to treat the grandkids when the parents aren't there, and naming grandparents as temporary guardians in charge of the grandkids – with long expiration dates. Trust me, it's worth reading Hero's Ransom, just to light some fires under our grandparent bonnets. 🙂
For further information, ideas, and assistance with this vital grandkid issue, check out what AARP has to say about it. They have some excellent info and more good links just for you. 🙂 And be sure to sign up for the FREE SandwichINK email for more resources for Sandwich Generation senior home care givers and grandparents.