Grandparental Units

An AARP member survey on grandparenthood has a number sure to jolt aging baby boomers: The average age at which respondents became grandparents was 48. Whether they’re ready or not, boomers by the millions will soon be in grandparental mode. What are they in for? The current crop of grandparents tend to be actively engaged in the role. Two-thirds see one or more grandchildren every week or two; another 24 percent do so at least once every few months. Eighty percent talk by phone with a grandchild at least once every couple of weeks. For some, keeping in touch with the youngsters can mean yelling across the room: 6 percent have grandchildren living with them, and about 15 percent provide daycare for the small fry while the parents are at work. Forty-five percent help to pay the kids’ living expenses. All in all, grandparents spend an average of $500 per year on their grandkids. This may help explain why (as the chart here indicates) many grandparents feel free to dish out their opinions on some heavy-duty topics.