Sharing, caring Julie named top grandparent
Kojonup grandmother Julie Sullivan said she had no clue that she would be named the Community Service Grandparent of the Year by Grandparents Day Magazine last Thursday.
She was nominated by a handful of people in her community who were all touched by Mrs Sullivan’s genuine care and warm company throughout the past three years.
In those years, Mrs Sullivan has formed a small grandparents’ group in Kojonup, aimed at providing support in the small country town.
“There are a lot of grandparents now who care for their grandchildren on a full-time basis or a semi-full-time basis,” she said.
“It’s a big thing these days.”
Mrs Sullivan, 66, said she is also taking care of her seven-year-old grandson on a permanent basis.
She said even though the task is rewarding, it’s not always easy to take care of her grandson as a retiree.
“It keeps you young when you’re doing it, but it sometimes makes you realise how old you are because you don’t have the energy that you used to have when you were 30,” she said.
Mrs Sullivan said most grandparents who have to care for their grandchildren on a full-time basis also often have to care for their children, who might have come out of a substance abuse or domestic violence situation.
“Some grandparents also have to go through the court system to take care of their grandkids and that can be even more of a burden for them,” she said.
“So it’s important to have people to talk to who are going through similar things.
“That’s what it’s really all about — we don’t do anything formal but we just listen to each other.
“Plenty of tears are shed and we keep everything confidential as well.”
Mrs Sullivan said she wouldn’t be able to be a great-grandmother without the help from her community group.
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails