School of Medical and Health Sciences
Objective: This study sought to determine what impact the task of raising grandchildren is having on custodial grandparents’ physical health. Design and Methods: Thematic analysis was conducted on interview data collected from 49 custodial grandparents. Results: The task of raising grandchildren on a fixed-income is difficult for grandparents with limited respite-care options. Hence, they periodically face the dilemma of deciding whether to defer or not defer their own health needs so they can continue to care for their grandchildren. Grandparents are also wary of asking for health-related respite-care assistance: (i) in case their asking is perceived as an admission they are not coping; (ii) that some harm might befall their grandchildren while they are in respite-care; and (iii) that a respite-care placement will cause their grandchildren’s underlying abandonment insecurities to resurface. Policy considerations: To help overcome custodial grandparents’ respite-care access barriers greater consideration needs to be given to delivering health promotion information within the non-judgemental and receptive confines of grandparent support groups.
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