FULL-TIME CARE: Lori Kelly (team leader at DAISI), grandcarer Dianne and her granddaughter.
FULL-TIME CARE: Lori Kelly (team leader at DAISI), grandcarer Dianne and her granddaughter. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

They’re doing a grand job looking after kids

DIANNE is the full-time carer for her granddaughter.

There are an estimated 550 grandparents just like Dianne on the Far North Coast - primary carers for their grandchildren.

These people, known as grandcarers, care for their grandchildren on a full-time basis for a variety reasons including illness of the child's biological parents, drug addiction or even death.

Dianne said caring for her granddaughter brings her "many joys" but at times she feels isolated because there are very few organisations on the Northern Rivers that provide advice about financial planning or parenting support services to grandcarers.

This is where Disability and Aged Information Service Inc (DAISI) comes into it.

After receiving calls from older people caring for their grandchildren and needed support, DAISI will host a grandcarers conference on Sunday October 27 where grandcarers can meet others in the same situation while their grandchildren are supervised by professional carers.

DAISI CEO Dona Graham said many grandcarers were looking after dependant children, often with no financial or governmental support and were unsure of who to turn to for help.

"Many grandcarers are doing it tough financially and they don't have access to support services that many other parents do," Ms Graham said.

"It will be an opportunity for grandcarers to meet other carers as well as speak to groups such as Legal Aid and Centrelink about the support and benefits they are entitled to."

She said grandcarers think they need explain why grand- children are in their care.

"Some feel they can't go to mothers groups or they are the last defence and safety net, having no one to offer respite."

Grandcarers seminar

Registration for the conference closes on Monday.

There will be food and sports and recreational activities organised for children attending the day.

Those attending without children can register on the day.

For more information and registration forms contact Lori Kelly by phoning 6686 7887 or email admin@daisi.asn.au.



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