Everyone expects grandparents to splurge on gifts for their grandkids, but a new study finds that in many cases the older generation is also spending money to help their progeny with basic needs.
About half of all grandparents said they are helping out with their grandchildren’s education expenses, while 37 percent are helping out with everyday living expenses and 23 percent with medical or dental expenses, according to a survey released Wednesday by AARP.
The results were relatively similar to a 2002 survey on the same topic by AARP, which advocates for older Americans.
Forty percent of the grandparents surveyed had spent $500 or more on their grandkids in the past 12 months, although 44 percent said the economy had affected how much they spend on their grandkids. Many had cut back on gifts, while some said they had had cut back on buying necessities for their grandchildren.
Some grandparents are playing an even more substantial role in helping out Mom and Dad.
About 1 in 10 survey respondents said they have grandchildren living with them, and four in 10 of those said they are the primary caregiver for their grandkids.
Even if Grandma or Grandpa are not the primary caregivers, the survey found that 16 percent are providing some child care while Mom and Dad are at work or school. About half said they just wanted to spend more time with their grandkids, while two in 10 said it was because the parents couldn’t afford alternative child care.
The survey of about 1,900 grandparents age 50 and over was conducted last summer and fall.