Grandparents Day Celebrates The Contributions Grandmas and Grandpas Make

Grandparents Day was established by President Jimmy Carter to celebrate the sacrifices they make, and as this year's day of appreciation nears a new survey shows just how much our grandmas and grandpas mean in our lives.

A survey from Generations United and MetLife Mature Market Institute found that grandparents are vital to caregiving, offering substantial financial contributions to their families, the Washington Post reported. In the past five years, the majority of grandparents polled said they gave money or some other kind of financial support to their grandchildren, with the average total amount of the support $8,289.

People should also use Grandparents Day to look out for the elderly, The Detroit Free Press suggested. This is the perfect opportunity for families to talk about the ways grandparents can be scammed out of money, with most of the thefts perpetrated by family members or caregivers.

In declaring Grandparents Day, Jimmy Carter noted that grandparents “bore the hardships and made the sacrifices that produced much of the progress and comfort we enjoy today. It is appropriate, therefore, that as individuals and as a nation, that we salute our grandparents for their contribution to our lives.”

The survey found that this was true for a large number of grandparents. The money they contributed to grandchildren went to a variety of things, the survey found --- 43 percent of grandparents gave money for clothing, 33 percent gave general financial support and 29 percent contributed to education.

For some, these financial contributions are more than they can afford, the survey found. About one-third of grandparents said it is harmful for them financially to give support to their grandchildren, but they still do it anyway.

“Grandparents are making financial sacrifices that could cost them when they find themselves short of the savings they need to support themselves in retirement,” said Sandra Timmermann, director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute. “There is a need to balance what they’re giving with what they can afford to give.”

Grandparents Day also honors the larger contributions they make.

“The number of grandparents helping raise their grandchildren has ebbed and flowed over the years but in recent years we have seen an increase because of the economy,” said Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United.

Do you have any plans for Grandparents Day?