Health coverage is one of the challenges grandparents face when taking on the parental role again.
By Adolfo Flores
have to go to her home sometimes because she was afraid we would take the kids away,” Mirsa Serrano, the health program’s coordinator, says of Olvera. “It’s hard for her to move forward because she has so many issues besides being illiterate and undocumented.”
Besides being diabetic, Olvera suffers from depression, stemming from years of abuse at the hands of her former husband. Olvera says she’s doing a better job of taking care of herself.
Still, 2010 was a difficult year for her, she says. Her brother died in January and her Mom passed away in July.
“The past couple of months have been hard. Some days I couldn’t even get out of bed. I don’t think I would’ve if it hadn’t been for the kids,” Olvera says, looking at her grandson Richard as he toddled by.
The need for specified outreach to grandparents like Olvera is evident in a brown file container she has brimming with victim’s rights documents and information on how to get a federal U-Visa, as a survivor of domestic abuse.
Yet, because she is unable to speak English--and more importantly, scared and intimidated by the U.S. legal system--the papers have sat in the file unused for years. Those resources that could’ve helped give her stability.
A 2009 study of ethnic grandparents raising their grandchildren, from Washington University in St. Louis, found that grandparent caregivers have a more active lifestyle, healthier meals and enhance their sense of purpose through the task of raising these children.
However, the same inquiry found compounding evidence that grandparent caregivers were more likely to be dissatisfied with their health. They also tend to have chronic diseases, such as diabetes and higher rates of depression than caregivers who look after their spouses or adult-child.
Latino caregivers were
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