LORAIN COUNTY, Ohio (WOIO) - The people most at risk for the coronavirus are seniors.
Either because of incarceration, drug abuse, or mental health issues.
Now, these grandparents are grappling with a whole world of isolation, homeschooling, and simply survival.
Seniors are told they have to isolate at home because they are at high risk for catching this deadly virus. The warnings raise a whole different kind of stress.
Rosemary Brown is a grandparent who lives in Lorain County, who is raising a child during the coronavirus crisis. She is asking what will happen to the child if something were to happen to her.
“What will happen if this does happen to me? Where will these children go from here? Or who would be responsible for them?" said Brown.
Linda Hunt is in the same position as Brown. She is her Great Grandson’s primary caregiver.
Hunt and her husband started to raise their grandchild while their daughter faces mental health challenges.
“You know, he fantasizes a little bit about grandpa and I being Mom and Dad, you know, rather than Grandma and Grandpa, and he tells us quite often, you know, I’m your son, right? And, you know, we just say we should do even though we, we know you’re our son. That’s hard. That’s hard,” said Hunt.
In Ohio, about 100-thousand grandparents are raising their grandchildren as primary caregivers.
There are always challenges when elderly grandparents become responsible for children, but with schools shut down and stay at home orders, a simple trip to the grocery store can turn into anxiety.
“I have my groceries delivered, or else I do curbside pickup. Occasionally, if we need something, one of us will put on a mask. Getting in, run into the store and back out,” said Hunt. “But we’re being exceptionally careful.”
For grandparents and great grandparents raising grandchildren, this can be a challenging time of loneliness and isolation.
Programs like the Kinship Caregiver Program in Lorain County can provide support and connection during this difficult time.
Anyone who wants, or needs, help can call 440-326-4827 for the Kinship Caregiver Program in Lorain County for help and resources.
Those who do not live in Lorain County can contact their county’s office of aging.
If anyone would like to help grandparents in Northeast Ohio, click here. The link will guide those interested to the Western Reserve Agency on Aging, where anyone can donate.