CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Throughout the month of July, in our Protecting Your Money segment, we have asked local professionals for their advice on topics like being a caregiver, choosing a retirement community, and preparing a Will.
What about when grandparents, who have worked hard their entire adult lives building a retirement nest egg, realize they'll likely have to assume responsibility for raising not only their grandkids, but in some cases, their own children due to life's unforeseen circumstances.
Grandparents look forward to retirement as a time to travel and spend time with their grandchildren.
Let’s call it a honeymoon phase.
"But as days, months, maybe years pass, that honeymoon phase ends, and grandparents feel a rollercoaster of emotions," says Marisol Gomez, director of Methodist Family Outreach.
Gomez sees it firsthand. Adult children, unable to raise their own children because of an assortment of problems, including imprisonment, or drug abuse, or health issues.
And now it appears that ‘honeymoon’ Gomez referenced, is over, for the grandparents. She says that could lead to feelings of anger, guilt, resentment. In some ways, the grandparents may feel at fault for the situation that’s going on.
"I was too busy working, building my nest egg for retirement, and I wasn’t able to spend enough time with my kiddos. So now, assuming that grandparents role, I’m going to invest that time in the grandchildren."
The best news is, help is available. That's been the impetus behind this series of reports throughout the month of July, to let you know that help is always available. All you have to do is ask.
Gomez encourages grandparents to reach out for support where it’s available. Find out how you can stretch your dollar.
"The more we know, the more any agency knows, the more they can help."
Including Methodist Family Outreach, one of many organizations willing and able.
On September 4, it’s the 22nd Annual Grandparents and other Relatives Raising Children Conference .
On July 7, we spoke with Felipa Wilmot Lopez with The Area Agency on Aging. They can help too.
Gomez says, "don’t be afraid of the stigma of that ‘oh, they might report you, or I might get in trouble, if they really know what’s going on.'"
And to that point, Gomez says in today’s culture, it’s okay for grandparents to talk with Child Protective Services about legal custody of the grandkids.
"And I know it may not be ideal to say call CPS," Gomez adds. "Get this agency in my business, or let’s air out what’s going on in my home. But it could be helpful in some ways."