“Trailing Grandparents” On the Rise

two grands

Real Estate brokers are increasingly becoming aware of the relatively new phenomenon of “trailing” grandparents.  We have long been aware of trailing spouses—the spouse follows when their partner experiences a job change or transfer that requires relocation.  Now, more and more, as Baby Bcoomers become grandparents they are relocating to be near family for a variety of reasons.  Typically, the primary reason is to live close to their grandchildren, taking a more active role in their lives.

According to a 2002 study by AARP, 80 percent of older adults believe it is important to live near children and grandchildren.  Often grandparents are needed to lend a hand with childcare for two-income households.  Others simply desire to be an active part of their grandchildren’s and children’s lives and to spend more time with them.

This type of relocation may take a variety of forms:

*Permanent—uprooting your household and moving to the area where your family resides Sometimes this even takes on the form of residing in the same dwelling.

*Temporary—this could involve living near your family for specific periods of time, such as only during winters or summers. Some grandparents will even purchase a motor home that can be moved or stored as needed. As well, they may choose to rent or purchase an apartment or condominium for use when they are in the area where the family lives.

*Portable—grandparents choosing to maintain their current residence while traveling to visit their family regularly, as often as possible.  Another variation to this would find the family traveling regularly to visit the grandparents or any combination of traveling schedules.

grandma love

Deciding to become a trailing grandparent comes very easy to many, while it may be a gut-wrenching decision for others.  Some things to consider before you make this type of life change are:

  1.  What is the likelihood your child and/or their spouse will find the need to relocate in the near future?  If they do, are you willing to follow them?
  2. What would it mean to you on a personal level to leave behind an established lifestyle?  Your friends?  Your own job?
  3. Realizing that your family may not always be willing to include you in their activities, what activities are available to you apart from them in the new location?

Those of us who are grandparents can certainly empathize with those separated by distance from those precious grand’s.  What are your thoughts about trailing to be with your children and their children?  What words of wisdom would you be willing to share with those considering making such a move? Join our Facebook page, Transition Tamers, to add to the conversation.

Source:  grandparents.com, Kasdin (2012)

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