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502 c Layne presentation

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Gramps, Grammy and Grief: Engaging Elderly and Kinship Caregivers in Your Grief Support Programming (Layne)

Gramps, Grammy and Grief: Engaging Elderly and Kinship Caregivers in Your Grief Support Programming (Layne)


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  • 1. GRAMPS, GRANNY & GRIEF: RAISING GRANDKIDS Alesia Alexander Layne, MSW, LCSW 2010 NAGC Symposium Cleveland, OH June, 2010
  • 2. Kinship Care The full-time care, nurturing, and protection of children by relatives, members of their tribes or clans, godparents, stepparents, or any adult with a kinship bond with a child.
  • 3. Who is doing it?  According to the US Census, approximately 200,000 children, about 1/3 of all children in foster care are in the care of relatives.  More than 2 million grandparents are raising 4.5 million children, and other relatives are raising an additional 1.5 million.
  • 4. The Grandkids are Coming…Now what?! Many elderly caregivers are now confronted with their golden years being transformed from retirement and relaxation, to a second go at parenting due to losses.
  • 5. From Grieving Child to POTUS… Kinship care is not new, we can harness the power of extended family to build stronger programs, and interventions.
  • 6. Feelings Associated with Kinship Care  Doubt  Joy  Anger  Resentment  Disappointment  Pain  Confusion  Powerlessness  Worry  Loss of control  Fear  Guilt  Regret
  • 7. Concerns of the Elderly Caregiver Parents Elderly Caregivers  Finances  Finances  Family history  Own health issues  New to parenting  Legal issues  Feelings associated  Family history with birth/addition  Feelings of Success/Failure in Parenting  Feelings associated with loss
  • 8. Losses Associated with Kinship Care  Incarcerations  Abandonment  Substance Abuse Issues  Blended families due to finances, or health issues  Death  Removal from home due to abuse/neglect
  • 9. How we hurt…  Not respecting the age  Not paying attention to or status of the cultural cues. caregiver.  Not providing for “old  Stereotypes. school”/low to no tech  Assumptions about age. methods of communication.  Assumptions about nature of loss.  Not enough face to face contact.  Not letting caregiver/child identify or define loss.
  • 10. The “New Jack” Grandparent  Younger  Does not fit into stereotypical “granny/gramps” role  Has improved life outcomes.  May have own blended family, parenting history  Own history of abuse/loss/guilt about first time parenting experience(s).  Own grief journey.
  • 11. Caregiving Needs  Self-care  Information  Boundaries  Training  Multiple approaches  Practice  Flexibility  Time management  Consistency  Planning  Support  Respite  Networking  Redefinition of  Access roles/family
  • 12. Families in Therapy  Goal: Create a safe and non-judgmental space for sharing, and for creating “story”.  Group work is a resource for helping kids and their families put their story and history in perspective.  Should intrinsically support whatever that storyline is.  Loss is a defining factor in how a child/teen creates their identity, and develops a script for resilience and for finding their place in the world at large.  Grandparents/Kinship caregivers can promote incredible levels of sharing, and of filling holes for children/teens.
  • 13. Kinship Care Mommy • Main Caregiver “Granny” • Significant Relative “Cissy” • Strong Sibling 11 years Role old • Other older kids • Other “Auntie Significant Adults, (may be Rusha” blood-related) or friends
  • 14. Kinship Care Grandma/ “Auntie Grandpa Jennifer” “Mama” Daddy Brooks Granny “Auntie Pam” “Auntie “Auntie Rusha” Yeh Yah”
  • 15. Family History  What is the family stance on secrets?  How does secret impact functioning?  Many families will only seek help from others when secrets have come out, and become crisis proportions.  Many elderly caregivers have little, to no tools for “talking” it out.  Due to culture  Age  Respect  Beliefs about role of kids in families  Taboo or stigma attached to loss/change.
  • 16. Secrets…  Two kinds o Known o Unknown Practitioner has huge role in creating a safe place for exploring secrets:  Must understand the history of, and power of “codes”.  What is the family or child/teen’s definition of “protection”?  Who gets hurt/helped by the secret?  Timing IMPORTANT.  Your role is not to tell the secret; but to facilitate the safety of sharing, or to prepare the family for the consequences of not telling.
  • 17. How we help…  Second-time Parent Support Groups  Offer services to law enforcement and victim’s advocacy groups  Referral sources and resource links on websites and in community centers.  Teach communication skills.  Facilitate communication.  Reunification preparation/goal definition.  Education and awareness building on grief experience for elder care agencies and parent/caregivers.
  • 18. Interventions  Support Network Identification  Communication Skill Building  Life Skills  Rehearsal  Referrals  Parent/Caregiver Support/Education  Caregiver roundtables  Enhanced resource lists
  • 19. Resources  Age-appropriate  Speaks to myth and  Pays attention to detail reality  Speaks a kid’s/young  Does not perpetuate person’s language dangerous stereotypes  Colorful or messages.  Captures attention  Honest  Has many different  Simple extensions.  Allows for questions.  Involves the senses.
  • 20. Caregiver Resources  Easy to read  Simple  Larger Print  Multi-lingual  Bullets  Resources in print & digital  Includes access points to service/follow-up
  • 21. YOUR Resources  Legal  Homework helplines  Judicial  Poison Control  Adoption Services  Baby/child proofing  Foster care  Party Planning  Juvenile Justice  Special Needs  Addictions Support  Therapists  Homelessness Services  Health Departments  School/Academic  Camps Support  Respite Care/Daycare
  • 22. Advocacy  Create and disseminate family-friendly calendars of your events. Always provide for low, to no cost admissions for families.  Support and vote for initiatives that support urban neighborhoods, parks, programming.  Make sure you address caregivers as they wish to be addressed. Avoid over-familiarity, use of first names until they tell you it is OK.  Check in often to see if the caregiver has resources, for self care.  Regularly hold parenting education classes as a part of your programming.
  • 23. For more information: www.project-karma.org

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