Gladstone students launch campaign for elderly in poverty
PHYSICAL and emotional strain, financial burden and even poverty are just some of the issues grandparents face as primary carers.
But these concerns are not widely recognised, and grandparents are often left in the dark.
Time to Guard Our Guardians is a nationwide campaign created by four university students (I'm one of those students) which will raise the issues faced by grandparents raising grandchildren in the hope that more support and resources become available.
We launched the campaign mid-April, encouraging grandparents to speak out and calling for more recognition of the sacrifices carers make.
Campaign spokesman Justin Barrett said what started as a university assignment had quickly turned into a passion.
"Some grandparents raising grandchildren have to give up retirement, and re-enter the workforce after working most of their lives, just to be able to afford to raise a child and provide for their needs," he said.
"One of the greatest practical challenges faced by grandparents acting as primary carers is the cost of raising children, which can lead to extreme financial stress or even poverty.
"It is happening in Australian households around us, and it's going unnoticed."
The campaign quickly gained support from Grandparents Australia and Grandparents Victoria, as well as Senator Dean Smith, an advocate of support for grandparents, and leading Australian researcher in the field Dr Jan Backhouse.
In an interview with Time to Guard Our Guardians, Senator Smith said "recognition is powerful" and encouraged grandparents in the role to share their experiences with the campaign.
"Don't be afraid," Senator Smith said.
"On one level, all of our family experiences are unique to us, but on another, they are much more common to each other than we appreciate."
To see how you can help, visit our website at timetoguardourguardians.org.
You can also can find us on Facebook under our campaign name.