September is Intergenerational Month and Sept. 9 is National Grandparents Day!
Some of us grew up with a grandparent down the street or at least close enough to visit frequently. And of those elders, some may have even served as a role models or as active participants in our lives.
Today, families exist in many different forms and a variety of intergenerational environments. An estimated 3 percent of children nationwide live apart from their parents, and two-thirds of those are being actively raised by their grandparents.
In Minnesota, there are nearly 25,000 grandparents caring for grandchildren who live with them.
While this kind of caregiving — often called kinship caregiving — may cause stress for the grandparents, many such caregivers also experience unexpected benefits, including a renewed sense of purpose, a chance to nurture family relationships and the joy of giving (and receiving) love. For children, grandparents can provide a powerful source of unconditional love and familial support.
Gather and learn
■ East Side Neighborhood Services in Northeast Minneapolis is committed to building an intergenerational community that values and respects everyone; develops confidence through education and engagement; and nourishes health and well-being.
At East Side, our vision is, “Every person thrives. Every voice matters.”
East Side is hosting several events in September to celebrate Intergenerational Month and Grandparents Day. (Check our website at esns.org for details.)
■ Volunteers of America’s Culturally Responsive Caregiver Support + Dementia Services welcomes caregivers of all ages to its monthly Caregiver Breakfast to thank them for their “labor of love.”
Join them from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Sept. 25 at the Center for Families, 3333 N. Fourth St., Minneapolis. For more information and to RSVP, call 952-945-4034.
■ Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota’s Kinship Family Support Services offers locations throughout the state. To learn more about kinship caregiver activities in your community, call 877-917-4640 and/or go to lssmn.org/kinshipcaregivers.
Discover ideas, resources
We encourage you to create your own celebration and/or consider joining us for one of ours, whatever your age! You’ll find many ideas online for intergenerational activities as well as ways to celebrate Grandparents Day. See legacyproject.org for some examples.
If you’re a caregiver for a loved one, you’ll find a calendar of support programs on the Metropolitan Caregiver Services Collaborative website.
There are public-benefits programs for relatives caring for children that can help with income, food, health care, home energy, telephone and other needs for those who are eligible. To learn more, go to aarp.org/quicklink.
Linnea Tweed leads the Empowering Vital Aging programs at East Side Neighborhood Services in Northeast Minneapolis.