A vibrant community of older adults, serving the Monadnock Region
Playing with Babies at the Keene Day Care Center
The Keene Senior Center members have an opportunity to play with young children at the Keene Day Care Center, 86 Wood Street in Keene. The young children are eager for attention and to show you their favorite toys or cuddle with them. Several folks from the Keene Senior Center are having a great time doing this. No pressure, just play for an hour. Available hours are: Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 10-11 AM or afternoons 3-4 PM. If you are interested call the Keene Senior Center at 352-5037 and ask for Pegg Monahan. Volunteer, Steve Bergeron, is leading this effort. Caring about the youngest members of the community is some of the most important work we can do, and it is fun.
Holistic Moms Network
This is a national non-profit organization with over 100 chapters nationwide. Our organization seeks to connect, educate, and support people raising children interested in attachment parenting, holistic health, and green living. We welcome all parents, grandparents, and caregivers of children of all ages. Our organization is a great resource for grandparents raising grandchildren. In the coming months we will be exploring pertinent topics such as The Changing Landscape of Food and How to Navigate It, Breastfeeding,Gardening with Kids,Positive Discipline, and Gentle Nighttime Parenting.Our meetings will include informative guest speakers as well as time to talk and connect with other caretakers. We are committed to empowering adults so they are able to make informed choices for their families and nurture the children in their lives. Our meetings will be held at the Keene Senior Center on the second Sunday of the month from 4:00 to 5:30 PM. We hope to see you there!
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren...
The Keene Senior Center is sponsoring a new weekly Wednesday evening program, Grand Heroes, focused on providing a support and sharing group to help Grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. We will meet at the Keene Senior Center, 70 Court St. Wednesdays at 5:30 PM. The Annie E. Casey Foundation that uses US Census data (2010) has counted 8000 children in New Hampshire being raised by their grandparents. We estimate 1500 grandchildren in Cheshire County (17% of NH population) and 450 children in Keene (30% of Cheshire County live in Keene). Children are living without their parents but with the grandparents taking on the responsibility of raising a second family. Not all, but certainly a number of these parents have serious addiction problems that make it impossible for them to raise their children. We know that there is an array of other issues that put the Grands in the position of raising their children’s children, such as divorce, abuse of the children, death of parents, etc.
Grand Heroes will be a support and sharing group and an opportunity for Grands to learn what other folks are going through and to build support and friendships. Important issues to be explored are legal matters such as guardianship, fostering, adoption, custody, visits, housing problems. In the household, Grandparents face many issues such as deciding what role Grands should take on, being a grandparent or becoming the parent. Also, there can be the triangle of conflict among grandparents, parents, and children. Setting boundaries for discipline, school, friends, and activities have to be established. Single Grands face going it alone, and couples have to make sure they have the same expectations and often face a strain on their marriage. All this is going on as the grandparents are facing their own aging issues. They wonder if they will be able to care for a child, as they age.
Consequently, many grandparents are disappointed; this is not what they envisioned for this time in their lives. Their friends are going on trips, and they are going to PTA meetings, again. So many must deal with conflicting emotions: they are unhappy with their children, feel pride in being able to help, feel resentment, sadness, anger, guilt, and an overwhelming sense of obligation. They are fatigued, feel grief, but joy in their successes of grand parenting, as they are doing it all over again.
The Grand Heroes group will focus on helping grandparents deal with depression, anxiety and help them find ways to take care of themselves and learning what that means. Hopefully, it can be good nutrition, exercise, expanding social circles, and not to isolate with their pain. They need to find time for themselves and laugh again.
Grand Heroes will need to know what services are available to them such as counseling and what agencies are best. They will have to understand that addiction is a chronic illness. They will have to come to terms with what they have sacrificed, and what they have gained. They will have to learn to tell their story and when not to tell their story. They will learn what spiritual help is available and how to make the right connections. Their overwhelming mission is to help their grandchildren go through this time in their lives and come out as whole, loving people.To sign up for this program or for more information, contact Pegg Monahan, Executive Director of the Keene Senior Center, at 352-5037. Facilitators, Marylouise Alther and Nancy Judd, are experienced professional counselors. Confidentiality is the hallmark of this group.