Sharyne De Young, Barbara Arthur, Julie Crow and Susette understand the financial, social and physical effects of becoming full-time carers for grandchildren at retirement age.
Although each experience is different, the most important thing for these women is the ability to have someone to share and understand those experiences.
Grandparents Rearing Grandchildren secretary Sharyne De Young said isolation and deteriorating health were two main issues for many of the members, with an average age of 65 to 75 years old.
‘Trying to keep your health and wellbeing is so important but the worst thing is you lose so many friends because many of them do not want children coming to adult parties and activities,’ she said.
‘You become very isolated ” that is why the group is so important.’
Julie Crow cared for her granddaughter for four years before finding Grandparents Rearing Grandchildren three months ago.
‘I don’t feel alone anymore, I feel there’s someone there always to talk to you,’ she said.
‘I’ve brought up four kids already and suddenly to be placed with this responsibility and the thought of going through it all over again was very difficult.’
Carer for nine-year-old grandson Stuart, Susette said raising grandchildren would not have been ‘such a joy’ without the group’s support.
‘The morning teas allow us the freedom to speak with total confidence and people understand what you’re going through,’ she said.
Last year group members pulled together to help Susette, an IT consultant, in a time of need by doing her cleaning and shopping, which she then repaid when others needed computer help.
‘The support is, I can say holistic ” it’s mind, body, spirit.’
The group has grown from 12 members to more than 50 families in five years.