Today, many grandparents are providing direct childcare for their grandchildren. They do this often as a support system for their adult children, and while they may have never anticipated doing this during their retirement years, it’s happening more and more frequently. As people get older, they don’t have the same physical strength and ability they did in their youth. That means for seniors who may be acting as childcare providers for their grandchildren, safety issues can arise.
What to look out for.
One of the most important things to pay attention to is the physical activity of the children compared with the physical ability of the senior. If the children are extremely active, running around the house, jumping on top of furniture, screaming and making a lot of noise, that can be frustrating and even potentially dangerous for an elderly person who has difficulty simply getting up and down the stairs.
If children are undisciplined, it is extremely dangerous.
A person in their 70s who may have to go down to the basement to do some laundry and is watching a child of six or seven years of age, may not see this as a major problem. However, if that child doesn’t have a great deal of discipline and certainly doesn’t understand the safety issues at play here, they could intend to help or be excited about the prospect of going into that darker, damper basement and run right past their grandmother or grandfather on the stairs.
This simple act could cause the senior to lose his or her balance and fall down. This may not be the best situation, and not only should the senior be well aware of his or her surroundings, they also need to be honest about their physical capabilities and limitations.
Most of us have a difficult time accepting our limitations as we age.
The natural process of aging is unforgiving. Some people are in great physical shape and can do many things at 50 years of age that people 40 or even younger can’t do, but for the most part time will take its toll.
If a person in their 70s or 80s, even, is unrealistic about their physical ability, balance, strength, and other aspects of their life and assume they can do the same things they did during their early 60s, they run the risk of increased safety issues.
Grandparents acting as childcare providers or parents can be putting themselves at serious and unnecessary risk. It’s important to be aware of the safety issues involved in these circumstances.
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