Welcome to the August 2008 Seniors Digest
This month, we focus on a very special group of people: kinship caregivers. These are grandparents, aunts, uncles and other relatives who have stepped up to raise children whose parents can’t care for them.
Opal Hopper and Shirlee Garrett at the recent Kinship Center barbecue. These experienced grandmothers use the expertise gained from raising their grandchildren to help other kinship caregivers in our area. See below to learn more about these wonderful role models!*
Many of these folks thought their child raising days were over; others had never been parents; few imagined beforehand that they would be in the position of providing primary care, love and guidance for the young relatives who now depend on them. Fortunately, local and statewide resources are available to support kinship caregivers and the children who depend on them. Read on to find out about some of these services!
Grandparents and other relatives caring for grandchildren or children may also be eligible for an additional Economic Stimulus payment of $300 per child. Many seniors, especially those residing in long-term care communities, have still not filed for this payment. Family and friends are urged to read "Economic Stimulus Package—Encouraging Long Term Care Residents and Kinship Caregivers to Apply" to find out what to do. You may even be able to apply online.
Also in this issue:
- Meet the Bellevue Network on Aging, a group of local volunteers who support Aging Services in Bellevue through advocacy, input and outreach.
- See how some local doctors still make house calls, providing health care visits to seniors who are unable to leave home to visit a clinic.
- Read about a recent study that suggests the majority of relationships between parents and their adult children improve with age.
- Try your hand at the "Super Seniors" Trivia Puzzle
And two quick last reminders:
For More Information
Check out SeniorsDigest.org, our national companion website. The Seniors Digest Resource Center is a great place to begin your search for information about issues of interest to seniors and their families.
We hope you will refer to our electronic pages often—to obtain advice, to learn of new and exciting services, and to offer us your constructive feedback.
Read Seniors Digest and tell us what you think. We are here to help.
Michael Miller, Chair
Seattle-King County Advisory Council
on Aging and Disability Services
* More About Opal Hopper and Shirlee Garrett
Opal Hopper is a member of the King County Kinship Collaboration (KCKC) and the Rainier Beach Family Center (RBFC) Support Group. She was one of the original founders of the RBFC support group in 1992 and still faithfully attends. Her grandchildren are grown, out of the house and doing well, but she continues to be a valuable resource to new and present support group members as she shares her experiences, struggles, challenges and successes of raising them. She teaches other kinship caregivers how to educate themselves, how to continue to think positively and to realize they are role models for their grandchildren.
Shirlee Garrett is a KCKC Steering Committee member, kinship caregiver and a support group leader. Shirlee has raised her teenage granddaughter since she was a toddler, and stays connected by volunteering at her school and attending all of her basketball practices and games. In spite of her busy schedule, Shirlee manages to work out at the gym five days a week, serves on the board of directors for her gym, and is active in several committees at her church. Shirlee’s friends at KCKC recently nominated her for an award and say about her, "She inspires the people around her—and is a motivator."