TAMPA (FOX 13) - The opioid epidemic has caused many grandparents to take care of their displaced grandchildren. This has added stress and health problems to their lives. Thanks to a new program, they are getting the help that they need to help raise these children and improve their health.
Cheri Calvert cherishes her time alone. She's one of thousands of grandparents who have become caregivers to their grandkids.
"Sometimes you don't have any privacy," Cheri chuckled. "You got this little person invading your time."
A new $100,000 grant is helping grandparents improve their health while coping with the stress of raising grandchildren.
The grant is called the Kinship Program and is sponsored by the Aetna Foundation. The Children’s Home Network is running the initiative.
"This grant is going to give us opportunity to really focus in on making sure grandparents are taking care of themselves while they are doing this really important job of care-giving,” explained Larry Cooper, who works for the Children’s Home Network.
Florida has a high number of children being raised by full time grandparents.
"We have about 40,000 children across the Tampa Bay area that are living with relatives, that are keeping them to protect them from abuse and neglect," continued Cooper.
The program assists seniors with support groups, wellness and self-management classes.
"Sometimes just talking to someone is part of taking care of yourself and that's really helped," said Cheri.
"We need them to be vibrant and active because they're taking care of some very young children," said Cooper.
LINK: For more information: www.childrenshomenetwork.org