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GrandFamilies ConferencePosted Wednesday, September 14, 2011, at 8:03 AM
Anyone who knows me knows that I'm crazy about my grandchildren. I have two grandsons and two granddaughters. When they were younger I loved having them come to spend the night BUT...when the time came for them to go home that was kind of nice too. I have always needed my grandchildren's parents to be responsible for my grandchildren. It's so much fun to have my entire family at my house for a meal, then we all sit around the table and listen to the things the grandkids are doing in school, I love it. Then the parents take the kids home and peace and quiet reign again, and I love that too!
There are many grandparents, and other family members (that's why we now call them GrandFamilies) who have had to "step up to the plate" and take full responsibility for children other than their own. Even though those children are loved so much, that is a lot of responsibility to have to take on at a time when one wants to be winding down, not gearing up.
Things have changed so much from the time their children were small. Sometimes it's difficult for a grandparent to be aware of all the changes, from relatively small problems like what kind of clothes to wear to school to very large problems like signs of drug abuse. Forty years ago the streets seemed to be safer. Kids could play Kick-the-Can and Hide-and-Go-Seek after dark and the grown-ups didn't need to worry about them, but now, in some areas, it's dangerous for kids to be outside after dark. It may be difficult for grandparents to realize this until it's too late.
Many times grandparents are on Medicare and have no insurance that would provide for medical care for their grandchildren. Making a Social Security check stretch to cover doctor bills, clothes and food for grandchildren can sometimes be quite a daunting task. If a grandchild needs to have an operation or some type of emergency medical procedure and the grandparent doesn't have the legal paperwork in place what happens?
These issues are some of the topics that will be addressed at the GrandFamilies Conference to be held October 18 at St. Andrew Lutheran Church on the corner of Cape Rock Dr. and N. Kingshighway in Cape Girardeau.
The Exhibit Hall will be open at 8:30 a.m. with a continental breakfast and registration. Then at 9:30 there will be a panel discussion with Scott Givens, Physical Therapist with Southeast Health, discussing physical fitness, Rhonda Bramlett, nutritionist with SEMO Area Agency on Aging, will discuss nutrition and Ass't. Chief Roger Fields, with Cape Girardeau Police Department, will discuss new drug dangers. After that there will be other interesting sessions to choose from, such as Technology and Exercise, Couponing, Legal Issues, and Teen Suicide Prevention. The featured speaker will be "Richard Simmons" AKA Scott Givens, who will be there to "pump you up". There will, of course, be free lunch and lots of door prizes. One door prize in particular will be very exciting, it is a Wii Fit, now grandparents, if you don't know what that is just ask your grandkids they will tell you.
A lot of information will be shared and ample opportunities to ask questions. There is no charge for this conference BUT pre-registration is required to insure adequate seating, materials, and lunch. If you need help with transportation or babysitting that too, is a possibility. To register you may call 573-335-3331 locally or 1-800-392-8771 (long-distance only) and ask for Gail.
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Ruth Dockins is the Public Information Director for the Southeast Missouri Area Agency on Aging and author of 'Age Spots,' a column/blog which is featured in several Southeast Missouri newspapers and is devoted to seniors and senior lifestyles.
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