Wednesday, November 19, 2008

White House Grandma

The nation’s incoming first family sets a precedent in so many ways. I appreciate how the energy of young people helped Obama get to where he is today, but let’s not forget older adults have nurtured President-elect Barack Obama throughout his life as well. Obama’s late maternal grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, whom he affectionately called "Toot," deeply impacted his life while helping to raise him in Hawaii. And now Marian Robinson, grandmother to Barack and Michelle Obama's children, may move into the White House with her daughter and son-in-law. The Washington Post reported this week that the Obamas are busy touring D.C. schools. I wouldn’t be surprised if Marian Robinson, who stepped in when her daughter and son-in-law were campaigning, driving her granddaughters to and from play dates, dance, and piano lessons, has some say in their important decision.

Multigenerational households happen for many reasons, some by choice, some by necessity. The Obamas serve as an example of choosing to live under one roof. Having cared for her grandchildren as her daughter and son-in-law’s schedules filled up, why, once the race was over, would she not want to remain deeply involved with the girls and join in the family’s D.C. move? As the latest Census reported, the number of parents under 65 in multigenerational households increased by 75%, while those 65 and older rose 62%. Additionally, the data shows a 40% increase in the number of other live-in relatives, such as the head of household's mother-in-law or father-in-law to 6.8 million. You can download GU’s multigenerational household fact sheet by clicking here.


Cindy Cosenzo, AgeCelebration said...

I just absolutely LOVE the image of the grandmother of President-elect Obama's children moving with the family into the White House. It signifies the White House being a real home and the Obama's being a real down-to-earth family with all the challenges and ups and downs that human family life entails, knowing they need each other's support along the way. It suggests to me that the Obama's really get GU's intergenerational slogan "... because we're stronger together."

JHENRY said...

I hope President Obama remembers how his own grandmother took care of him when no one else would. We are raising 3 grandchildren and need financial help. We were promised foster care when we took these children from Virginia CPS but once we got custody of them, they stopped paying foster care payments. We are elderly and have gone through our savings just to get to and from Virginia to get these children out of foster care.

I sent Hillary Clinton a CD our KinCare Kids made titled "You Were There For Me." I hope it was passed on to her, or at least the committee for S661. I know it was received because I sent it priority mail. It was a poem set to music by our grandchildren's therapy group. I cry each time I hear it. It starts out, "Gramma and Grandpa, You were there for me when no one else would." It goes on to say how they felt when the relative caregiver took them out of the tough life they were living, gave them a home and love. The refrain is, "You Were There For Me, We are Family."

Please see that senate bill 661, The Relative Caregivers Act that was sponsored by Hillary Clinton passes and that grandparents who are raising grandchildren no matter whst state the children came from get the financial help they need.