Actively Aging

Actively Aging

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Grandparents Are Filling the Gaps in Drug-Ravaged Families


Pamela Livengood was happily embracing her status as a new grandmother when suddenly she became the primary caregiver for her daughter's 2-year-old son.
"It was quite an adjustment," said Livengood, 55, of Keene, N.H. "I wasn't ready to go back to changing diapers and getting up in the middle of the night. I thought all that was behind me. But my daughter and the baby's father got caught up in using opioids right after Francis was born. He needed me."
In Maine, about 8 percent of babies are born to women who are addicted to opioids and other drugs, according to Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who chairs the Senate Special Committee on Aging. The number of children raised solely by grandparents in that state rose 24 percent between 2010 and 2015. Nationwide, more than 2.6 million people are raising grandkids, according to census data. That number is rising rapidly as more parents are jailed, are forced into treatment centers or die from overdoses, according to testimony at a recent aging committee hearing.
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