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Children who care

We know many older adults who are raising their grandchildren, but in our country 1.4 million children are primary caregivers for older adults. Chris Miller, 13, is the primary caregiver for his grandmother who suffers with chronic illness. She has been his guardian for the last 10 years. He cares for her – watching her medications, preparing meals, anxious that she may someday be too ill to go on. And he will be left alone.

In a country that pays professional athletes zillions of dollars and spends time strolling malls for meaning, can’t we find a way to support these families? Find ways to allow these children time to be children? Teens need time to imagine and dream – not be thrust into the role of parent. The very least we owe our children is a secure childhood. 

(S-R archive photo)

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About this blog

Writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., addresses issues facing aging baby boomers and seniors as well as issues of serious illness, death and dying, grief and loss.

Ask a question: Catherine welcomes questions about aging issues and grief. Email her at

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