Guest Contributor

Grandparents play significant roles in families and there is an ever-increasing number of grandparents who are primary caregivers or raising grandchildren. According to Generations United, approximately 2.7 million children in the U.S. live in grandfamilies or kinship families — families in which grandparents, other adult family members, or close family friends are raising children — with no parents in the home.

While many grandparents have moved into this role during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many others who have assumed primary care of grandchildren as a result of drug- and alcohol-related issues, addiction, incarceration, or other complicated family dynamics.

AgeWell Middle Tennessee connects older adults who are now caring for grandchildren with key community partners that can provide support, information, and education.

Some of those resources include:

  • The Davidson County Relative Caregiver Program at Family & Children’s Service. The program provides assistance and support to relatives caring for children under the age of 18. Case management, caregiver support groups, material and financial assistance, respite care, and family activities are included. More information can be found at www.fcsnashville.org/dcrcp or by calling (615) 340-9725.
  • The New Vision Relative Caregiver Program provides assistance and support to relatives caring for children under the age of 18. This organization provides services to all Middle Tennessee counties except Davidson. Services include case management, caregiver support groups, information and referral, and one-time financial assistance. They can be reached at (615) 445-8711.
  • The Center for Family Development coordinates the Relative Caregiver Program for Maury and Hickman counties and can be reached at (931) 684-4676.
  • Empowering Grandparents: A Guide for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren is a guidebook created by AgeWell Middle Tennessee. It outlines resources for legal issues, safety, communicating with schools, and technology. The book is free and available online or in print by calling (615) 353-4235.
  • The Legal Aid Society can assist with information and concerns about legal issues for grandparents. Call (615) 244-6610 for information.
  • Mental Health America of the Midsouth provides information and support for families regarding mental health issues. Find out more by calling (615) 269-5355 or visit https://mhamidsouth.org/.
  • Within school systems, social workers, counselors and/or Head Start programs can be an invaluable resource for grandparents who have children in schools.

AgeWell Middle Tennessee champions positive aging and celebrates the impact grandparents make within families and in our overall community! If you or someone you know is involved in raising grandchildren and needs information, contact the AgeWell Helpline at (615) 353-4235 to get connected to local support.