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A quarter of grandparents have moved to help look after grandchildren

One in four grandparents have moved house to help look after their grandchildren as parents are forced to work longer hours, survey finds

  • More than hale of parents have had to take on extra hours at work in recent years 
  • Most retirees believe there’s more pressure on parents now than in the past

One in four grandparents have moved house to help out with the grandkids as parents are forced to work longer hours, according to a new survey.

The study suggests as many as 53 per cent of working parents have had to take on extra hours or additional work, in recent times.

And it’s grandparents to the rescue, as 26 per cent have moved house in the last five years, to help time-poor parents with their offspring.

According to the findings, as many as four in ten grandparents have pledged to take a more active role in their grandchildren’s lives to help.

The study of 2,000 retirees found over half (52 per cent) claim there is more pressure on parents now than when they were young.

(Stock image) 26 per cent of grandparents have moved house to help out with their grandchildren 

Some 43 per cent have vowed to help because they can’t stand watching their loved ones struggle with the pressures of work, finances, and family life.

Overall, 42 per cent of grandparents are helping regularly with the school run, on average five times a month, while 46 per cent are hosting their grandchildren for sleepovers at least three times a month.

As many as 39 per cent are undertaking weekly trips to the playground, while cooking evening meals for the family (35 per cent) and doing the bath and bedtime routine (28 per cent) are also falling under grandparents’ remits.

A third (28 per cent) are doing the laundry, while the same number are even helping by walking the family dog.

One in five (21 per cent) regularly delve into their toolbox to do DIY jobs around their children’s houses.

When it comes to helping financially, 16 per cent have helped with their children’s weekly shop, while a tenth (12 per cent) will put their hands in their pockets to pay for their children’s household bills and mortgage.

(Stock image) The survey of 2,000 retirees showed 52 per cent believe there are more pressures on parents

Fiona Carleton, managing director of services at retirement developer McCarthy Stone, who commissioned the survey, said: ‘With parents facing increasing financial pressures they are leaning on grandparents more than ever, but they don’t always live close enough to be able to help their families as much as they’d like.’

‘At McCarthy Stone we have over 500 developments across the UK and many of our homeowners move to be closer to families.

‘By living somewhere more suited to their needs and because of the help our teams provide – which is everything from building maintenance, to gardening, to additional care and support if needed – our homeowners have more time to spend on the things they enjoy. 

‘This means they can balance the enjoyment of a relaxing retirement with providing practical help to their children in these uncertain times.’

Of the retirees surveyed, two thirds (69 per cent) say they are more than happy to help, while four in ten (41 per cent) believe it is their role as a parent to help in any way they can.

(Stock image) More than two thirds of the retirees surveyed said they were more than happy to help

One in three (34 per cent) say helping out has brought them closer together as a family, with a further 32 per cent enjoying being needed by the family, something that gives them a sense of pride (24 per cent).

A fifth (18 per cent) admit that needs must in these difficult times, with one in six (16 per cent) worrying that if they don’t help, no one else will.

Four in ten (44 per cent) wish they could help out more, with money (39 per cent), time (32 per cent), health worries (31 per cent) and living too far away (26 per cent) stopping them.

Despite being happy to help, assisting with building work and decorating (20 per cent) are the tasks that grandparents and great-grandparents find the most tiring, along with laundry (17 per cent), paying bills (16 per cent) and doing DIY (15 per cent).

While one in three (33 per cent) admit they have put their children’s and their family’s needs ahead of their own, grandparents and great-grandparents are still able to find time to enjoy their own interests with four in ten (43 per cent) making sure they don’t miss catching up on their favourite TV shows, getting outside for a walk (40 per cent), as well as going on holiday with their partner (36 per cent).

(Stock image) More than half of parents have had to take on extra hours or additional work in recent years

Christine Holdsworth, 75, a retired hospital administrator, unexpectedly lost her husband in 2020 and found herself feeling quite isolated living on her own and struggling with the maintenance of a large house. 

She decided it was the right time to move closer to her two daughters and grandchildren in Peterborough – one that has given her a whole new outlook on life, and which has benefited the entire family.

Downsizing has removed so many of the demands on Christine’s time, that she is now better able to support her busy family, which includes taking care of her fourteen-year-old grandson, Thomas, during school holidays and most weekends when her daughter Alison works.

Talking about the invaluable help her mum provides, Alison said: ‘I think I would probably have to give up my job as a carer and get a job in school hours, but these are few and far… so in the current climate I’m not sure how we’d cope.’

Christine said: ‘Due to the pressures of her changing job patterns, I think that Alison really benefits from knowing I’m there to help out… it gives me huge happiness knowing I’m making a difference and never tire of it.’

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