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The surrogate grandmother mother

Grandmothers can find they have become surrogate parents to children orphaned by HIV/AIDS and cocaine epidemics

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In the wake of the HIV/AIDS and crack cocaine epidemics, poor urban communities face growing numbers of older adults, largely grandmothers, who have become surrogate parents to children orphaned by these epidemics.These grandparents assume primary, and at times sole, responsibility for raising their grandchildren. Coordination between health and social services for the elderly and for children are needed to promote effective programs for these families.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

Given the stresses associated with caregiving in late life and the greater risk of poor health especially among low income African-American and Hispanic elderly, older surrogate women from these communities are a potentially high health risk population whose own needs may go unrecognized and unattended.

How does this research relate to our use cases and personas?

Raising children is physically demanding, and the role demands may contribute to development
and or exacerbation of existing health and functional problems. These problems remain unidentified and unattended in older women caring for babies. The involvement of multiple professions in the individual and family care of grandmotherheaded families across the life course, along with the rapid growth of this family configuration, means that attention needs to be given to this dynamic

Tell us about yourself:

My background lies at the intersection of nutrition, health education and public health.

Are you currently an employee of Sutter Health or UCB Pharmaceuticals?

  • No

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Photo of Kate

Hi Neesha!

I am keen to find out more. Would you share the sources of information for the following?

'In the wake of the HIV/AIDS and crack cocaine epidemics, poor urban communities face growing numbers of older adults, largely grandmothers, who have become surrogate parents to children orphaned by these epidemics'

'Given the stresses associated with caregiving in late life and the greater risk of poor health especially among low income African-American and Hispanic elderly, older surrogate women from these communities are a potentially high health risk population whose own needs may go unrecognized and unattended.'

Photo of Neesha

Ruiz, D. S. (2002). The increase in incarcerations among women and its impact on the grandmother caregiver: Some racial considerations. J. Soc. & Soc. Welfare, 29, 179.

Roe, K. M., Minkler, M., Saunders, F., & Thomson, G. E. (1996). Health of grandmothers raising children of the crack cocaine epidemic. Medical Care, 34(11), 1072-1084.

Minkler, M., Roe, K. M., & Price, M. (1992). The physical and emotional health of grandmothers raising grandchildren in the crack cocaine epidemic. The Gerontologist, 32(6), 752-761.