Grandparents play bigger role in child-rearing

Eileen and Doug Flockhart

Eileen and Doug Flockhart laugh as she holds a picture of their seventh grandchild near a wall full of family photos in their home in Exeter, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

According to this Associated Press article by Hope Yen, America is swiftly becoming a granny state.

Less frail and more involved, today’s grandparents are shunning retirement homes and stepping in more than ever to raise grandchildren while young adults struggle in the poor economy.

Census data shows that grandparents make up 1 in 4 adults and are growing at twice the rate of the overall population. They’re projected to make up 1 in 3 adults by 2020.

Not yet frail or disabled, grandparents are increasingly shunning retirement homes to stay close to family. AARP says 90% of them would rather age-in-place in their own home than be forced into institutional care, and that’s the primary audience of Modern Health Talk.

Baby Boomers, also called the “sandwich generation” because their time is split between their grown children and grandchildren on one hand and more senior parents on the other, are relatively affluent and tech-aware. They’re motivated to find solutions that lets them live the lifestyle they want and can generally afford them. That includes home modifications with Universal Design principals that work for any age or ability, digital home technologies that include video chats with remote family and friends, and telehealth solutions for home health care.

Read the AP article for the whole story.

Finding a ‘healthy’ home a challenge, but can be done

Photo by Tom Coplen Buena Vista Photography

Modern homes are more airtight, driven largely by a push for increased energy efficiency, but that can trap pollutants inside and make it more likely to breathe toxic air inside the home than outside. The concentration of toxic compounds emitted by common household products and furnishings can cause dizziness, headache, nausea, fatigue and other symptoms. As much as 15% of the population is sensitive to these chemicals, especially those with asthma and other respiratory diseases. That’s why I was attracted to this article by Carrie Alexander, describing the challenges of finding a “healthy” home.

Elaine Robbins searched for more than a year before she found a house in Austin that would fit her needs. Like most home buyers, Robbins needed a house that fit her budget, location and square-footage requirements. But she also needed to find a home that would not make her ill.

Many of the houses for sale — especially those that had been spruced up with new carpet and paint before going on the market — raised health concerns for Robbins, who is especially sensitive to chemicals in many modern building materials, products and furnishings, as well as cigarette smoke and natural gas.

Read Carrie’s article for information on finding green homes built with healthy materials.