As the government announces further lockdown relaxations and parents are encouraged to go back to work, new data from Gransnet shows that a worrying proportion of at-risk grandparents feel under pressure to provide childcare for their grandchildren. Our recent survey reveals that more than one in ten grandparents who are over 70 or have underlying health conditions feel under pressure to provide childcare for their grandchildren.
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The new survey of 1,006 Gransnet users included 544 respondents who are over 70 or have underlying health conditions - meaning they are officially considered to be at greater risk from COVID-19.
Just 15% of all respondents are currently providing any childcare at all - but that includes 11% of the at-risk group.
The government has announced that parents can use grandparents as childcare from July 4 as part of ‘bubble’ arrangements, and that those who are most vulnerable will have their shielding restrictions lifted on 1st August.
“I've always cared for my two-year-old grandchild and done the school run and after-school care etc. What is my daughter supposed to do now if I don't take up where I left off before lockdown? Any decision I make has to be balanced against possibly putting myself and my husband at risk.” - Gransnet user
44% of all respondents say they don’t feel under pressure to provide childcare, but 16% do, including 13% of those in the at-risk group. 30% of those in the at-risk group say they are worried that being in touch with grandchildren would increase their risk of catching COVID.
Gransnet editor Lara Crisp said: "These figures show how tricky it is for at-risk grandparents to balance their own health needs against their wish to help their children. Many grandparents provide regular childcare in normal circumstances and are very happy to do so, but the extreme difficulty parents currently face in accessing their normal formal childcare arrangements is putting undue pressure on this vulnerable group.”