Because the age of becoming a first time mum is getting older. (insert your own statistics because I'm too idle).
What impact will this have on these first time mums?
I think the older grans will be less likely to (want to) be able to offer grand childcare facilities in the way that a younger gran might do. This must impact on the number of mums being able to afford to go back to work sooner rather than later.
The impact of grandparents being older? Well, it seems to be a double-edged sword. Our first grandchild arrived when we were 60-years-old (two more have since followed). My parents were 46 when their first arrived. The benefit in our case was that my wife had just retired and I took early retirement one year later, therefore, we were available for regular child minding duties. The negative element is that in our sixties, healthy though we are, trying to cope with lively and demanding children can be (is) very draining. For my parents those two factors worked the other way round.
Perhaps in the 1960s & '70s the old-established family pattern of a working father, a housewife and 2.4 children was still in evidence, but now the nation's economic situation has changed at the same time as its demographic situation, i.e. mums need to work to get enough family income to survive and the older generation are living longer so as to provide the child care, thereby allowing the mums to work. It seems we have no choice but to join in with the new status quo. Will the availablity of a longer-living older generation be a factor in a couple's decision to have children - or not? We need, as a nation, to provide proper financial support to young parents so that the pressure to have children later in life is eased. At the moment couples feel the need to have established their financial security and their housing requirements before having children. This makes for "older mums" and "older grandparents". We would be better off if we could reverse that trend, not just for the sake of the grandparents but also for the parents who at, say, 55 will be battling with teenage off-spring.
I think it is very double edged, On the one hand being older means you are more likely to help with babysitting, on the other hand younger grandparents will be with the child longer and in soem cases have more energy to run about with them. My family are all young and my parents and theirs would of not wanted it any other way.
I think the real problem will be the age our children become grandparents. My son and DIl were 36 and 38 respectively when they became parents. If their children wait as long to have children they will both be well over 70 when they first become grandparents and could be nearly 80 by the time the last grandchild is born. Even the healthiest grandparent in their late 70s does not have the stamina to cope with babies and toddlers for other than very brief periods and a significant numbers of our grandchildren could be coping with frail and dependent parents even before they become parents.
My FIL was 38 when my husband was born and was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in his late 60s, although to begin with this was not too serious by the time our children started school he was seriously disabled. For several years my husband was run ragged. His job meant he was away a lot during the week and most weekends he made the 120 mile round journey to his parents house to help his mother cope with caring for his father. He was an only child and the burden fell only on him. Our children only remember their paternal grandfather as a sick old man sat in a chair.