Immigration could resurrect Grandma’s place in society
Australia is recognized internationally as a stable and prosperous country offering refuge to those in need or new opportunities for migrants.
Over fifty boats carrying around fourteen hundred refugees have arrived in Australian waters in 2009. Another one hundred thousand other refugees and migrants have arrived by more conventional means.
The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) has long identified family reunion as one of the top priorities for refugees and other migrants once they have been settled in Australia. Facilitating family reunion has been shown to have an impact on settlement through improvements in economic participation as well as the psychosocial well-being of refugees and migrants themselves.
Bringing families together can give a migrant or refugee a sense of social and cultural stability in community.
As Australia’s population increases refugees and migrants are especially bringing the grandparent tradition with them. Family environments, in which grandparents care for their grandchildren, have long been accepted in our own indigenous communities and by our Asian and Pacific Island neighbours and such arrangements are also common among other non western populations from where we attract our refugees and migrants.
Grandparents contribute to their communities and families as informal volunteers and are recognized for the active but temporary roles they assume during times of crisis or special need.
In refugee and migrant families in particular grandparents contribute to strong inter-generational relations and they enjoy mutual support that permits them to remain living within that community. They are critical both to family functioning and to the maintenance of sustainable and healthy communities and they provide the strong cultural links relating to food, language and worship. Grandparents are often referred to as the ‘glue’ that sticks communities together.
One element of this grandparent phenomenon is now re-emerging in western civilizations. It is the return of the Nanny Granny. This involves the loving relationship of a grandma combined with the duties of a nanny. Grandma carers are an old fashioned scenario that fell out of style in the western world because increased family mobility and smaller families created a culture of family independence.
Prior to the 1960’s the demographic relating to grandmas revealed that they had many more children and a shorter life span than today. It was difficult for grandmas in those times to do much for all the children. With improved health care these days, it is more likely that families now have a living grandma.
As life gets more and more complicated, grandparents and especially grandmas are becoming the solution.
Michelle Obama has installed her mum Mildred Baker aged seventy-one in the White House as the primary care giver to their two children.
Many grandmas dedicate themselves to the role of caring for both children and the household to allow adult children to fulfil careers and enjoy an active lifestyle.
With migrant and refugee families in particular multigenerational households are on the rise and professionals in real estate and the building industry say the trend has accelerated in the last five years.
Trends in family formations and family breakdowns have also led to diversity in living arrangements.
Although it may initially sound daunting, more generations living together can be beneficial for all involved, especially when help is needed for child or elder care.
It is common for refugee and migrant families to pool their resources and purchase a larger home that can accommodate everyone’s needs. It used to be called a granny flat but Americans now include “accessory units” in their homes to cater for grandma.
No matter what cultural background a family has, all grandkids know that grandmas are special. Love them and they love you back.
A sign seen outside one house says it all.
“Grandma’s home, children spoilt while you wait!”
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…