Connect with us


‘I wouldn’t trade it for the world’: Grandparents increasingly becoming primary caregivers




The best part about 10-year-old Akirah Carter’s new home is that she feels safe there. 

“Now I’m here, I get to go outside. I get to play,” she said. 

Akirah and her grandmother Tonya, 58, moved into their new two-bedroom apartment in August. It’s on the 11th floor of an apartment building not far from Chinatown in downtown Washington, D.C. The neighbourhood is full of glittering highrises and hipsters — and it feels a world away from the Carters’ old home. 

“Where we used to live there was a lot of guns, shooting and fighting,” said Tonya. “It was terrible.”

The Carters qualify for their new home because they are part of a growing trend: families where the primary caregiver is a grandparent. They’re called grandfamilies. 

Tonya got custody of Akira when the child was two after concerns were raised that her mother was neglecting her. Akirah’s dad — Tonya’s son — is in the picture, but grandma is very much in charge.

“We’ve been through a lot,” said Tonya. “I never imagined I would be raising a newborn all over again, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world because I love her so much.”

Akirah does homework in her new kitchen at Plaza West, which is run by Mission First, a D.C.-based non-profit real estate group, and caters to families headed by grandparents. (CBC)

A report by the non-profit group Generations United estimates 2.5 million U.S. children are being raised by grandparents or other relatives in a home where the child’s parent is not present. A small study by the non-profit health care group Altarum puts the number even higher, at 7.8 million children living in grandparent-led households. 

It says although grandparents have historically stepped in to provide support when families are in trouble, “they are now being called upon to assume primary parental responsibility for their grandchildren in unprecedented numbers.”

The opioid crisis is part of the reason why this is happening. Twenty-per cent of the grandparents surveyed by Altarum said they were raising children because of parental drug abuse. 

In Canada in 2011, about 72,000 grandparents age 45 or older lived with their grandchildren in “skip-generation” households, that is, with no middle generation present, Statistics Canada reported in 2015.

Legislation meant to help grandfamilies

In the U.S. in July, President Donald Trump signed the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act, which created a federal advisory council to support grandfamilies and disseminate information on resources they can tap into.

It’s a recognition that these families face unique situations, often navigating trauma, grief, poverty and health challenges related to aging. 

Fifty apartments at Plaza West are designated for grandfamilies. The subsidized monthly rents range from $688 US to $1,079, less than half the average in the neighbourhood. (CBC)

Plaza West, where the Carters live, is designed to address those challenges. Much of that work is done by Jamarl Clark, the community life manager or, as he puts it, uncle to the 30 grandfamilies who have moved in since the summer. 

“Sometimes, I get filled up with emotion,” he said. “I mean, it’s remarkable just to see them and how they are raising the children.” 

The building is operated by Mission First, a D.C.-based non-profit real estate group that relies on public subsidies and private donations. There are 50 apartments on 10 floors dedicated to the grandfamilies program. 

To qualify to live there, grandparents have to be older than 55 and be raising a child or children younger than 17. Grand-nieces and -nephews count. 

‘It’s not just a place to live’

Rents range from  $688 US to $1,079 a month for a two- or three-bedroom apartment, less than half the average rent in the neighbourhood. Clark says it has been a challenge to fill all the apartments because families must meet the D.C. income requirements for subsidized housing. Families with an income of more than $32,000 a year don’t qualify. 

Mission First is recruiting for the final 20 units. 

“It’s not just a place to live,” said Clark, “but also a program that has activities for the children and focuses on the health and wellness of the seniors.” 

Akirah plays with Pokemon cards in her bedroom. Her new home ‘feels really normal,’ she said. ‘Now I have some people who are, you know, the same as me.’ (CBC)

Take the gym. Not only does it have new treadmills and stationary bikes, but the equipment features extra-large displays for aging eyes. The hallways and doorways are large enough to accommodate a wheelchair, and all the units have emergency pull cords to call for help. 

I guess it feels really normal.– Akirah Carter, 10

There’s a computer room, too. On a recent afternoon, Renee Simpson and her 13-year-old granddaughter, Khaniya, were trying to figure out the printer. It’s all new to them. 

“We had nothing like this,” Simpson said, referring to their old home. “Nothing, nothing, nothing.” 

This building has a large community room on the roof, and there are plans to build a library.

The idea is that grandparents, who never imagined themselves running after little ones well into retirement age, can support each other. And the children can make friends with other kids in a similar circumstance. It seems to be working,

“I guess it feels really normal,” said Akirah Carter. “A lot of my friends live with their parents. So now I have some people who are, you know, the same as me.”


Source link

قالب وردپرس


Post-vaccine surge? Michigan’s spring coronavirus case spike close to previous year’s autumn high




(Natural News) The spike in new Wuhan coronavirus infections recorded in Michigan over the spring is similar to a spike seen during the 2020 fall season. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the state’s daily coronavirus case count averaged more than 7,000 for almost two weeks – before taking a slight dip to 6,891 on April 20. This echoed similar figures back in November and December 2020, which saw sharp rises in infections for those two months before plunging.

Back in autumn of last year, Michigan averaged more than 7,000 cases per day for a span of 10 days. New infections dropped slightly, then briefly spiked as the December holidays approached. It then fell to the low 1,000s for the succeeding two months – until ascending again in March.

According to University of Michigan internal medicine professor Dr. Vikas Parekh, the sudden increase in new infections could be attributed to several factors. Among the factors he cited was re-openings, which increased people’s interactions and mobility. Parekh said the loosened restrictions contributed to the spread of the highly contagious U.K. B117 variant.

“As the B117 variant spreads nationally, we will likely see other stats [with] their own surges – although I hope none are as bad as Michigan,” the professor remarked. He continued: “The milestone just tells us we are not yet in the clear, especially as we still have large portions of our population who are not vaccinated yet.”

Parekh also expressed optimism over the lower daily caseloads the Great Lakes State reported. He said he believes both cases and hospitalizations have plateaued and will likely decline soon. The professor commented: “[COVID-19] positivity has been declining now for one week, which is usually a leading indicator of case decline.”

Meanwhile, the state cited younger populations and youth sports, such as basketball, wrestling and hockey, to increase new COVID-19 infections. Because of this, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called to suspend youth sports and indoor dining in the state. She also exhorted high schools to conduct remote class sessions for two weeks to curb the spread of the pathogen.

Michigan still experienced the spike in cases despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country

During the opening stages of the U.S.’s immunization drive against COVID-19, Michigan boasted of having one of the highest vaccination rates nationwide. A report by Bridge Michigan even noted the initial “frenzy for vaccines” that “far exceeded the state’s limited supply.” But things have appeared to turn around for Michigan, as it now struggles to reach the 70 percent vaccination rate needed for herd immunity.

Continue Reading


Scottish mom’s legs turn into a pair of “giant blisters” after first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine




(Natural News) Sarah Beuckmann of Glasgow, Scotland, felt a tingling sensation in her legs and noticed a rash flaring up around her ankles a week after getting her first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine on March 18.

She also had flu-like symptoms right after the vaccination.

Beuckmann called her doctor to arrange an appointment the morning she noticed the rash, but by the afternoon her skin was already breaking out into blood-filled blisters. Blisters also appeared on her legs, hands, face, arms and bottom.

“I ended up asking my husband to take me to A&E,” said Beuckmann, referring to “accident and emergency,” the equivalent of an emergency room (ER). “When I got there, my heart rate was sitting at 160bpm, which they were very concerned about. I got put on an ECG machine.”

Doctors determine AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine triggers the rash

Medics carried out tests for HIV, herpes and other skin conditions to work out what triggered the rash, but all results came back negative. Doctors finally determined that the vaccine caused her rare reaction after carrying out two biopsies.

“Once they found that it was a reaction to the vaccine, they put me on steroids and that really seems to be helping my progress,” said Beuckmann. She had been advised by her doctor not to get the second dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine because of her reaction.

Beuckmann spent 16 days at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. She was discharged to recover at home. The 34-year-old mother of one is currently wheelchair-bound due to the bandages on her legs and blisters on the soles of her feet. She may need physiotherapy to help strengthen her leg muscles.

“They are starting to heal and they’re looking a lot better than they were but as the blisters started to get worse, they all sort of merged together,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

With the blisters merging, her legs have looked like a pair of “giant blisters.” Beuckmann admitted that at one point she feared her legs might have to be amputated.

Dermatologist agrees COVID-19 vaccine causes the blisters

Dr. Emma Wedgeworth, a consultant dermatologist and spokeswoman at the British Skin Foundation, agreed that Beuckmann had likely suffered a reaction to the vaccine.

“Vaccines are designed to activate the immune system. Occasionally people will have quite dramatic activation of their immune systems which, as happened in this case, can manifest in their skin” Wedgeworth told MailOnline. “This poor lady had a very severe reaction, which thankfully is extremely rare.”

It is not clear why Beuckmann, who works in retail, was invited for a vaccine. Scotland’s vaccine rollout was focused on people over the age of 50 when she got vaccinated, although vaccines are available to those who are considered at risk from the virus, or live with someone considered vulnerable.

At least 20 million Briton have had AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which drug regulators say causes a rash in one percent of cases. They say rashes caused by the jab tend to go away within a week.

Continue Reading


Trojan labs? Chinese biotech company offers to build COVID testing labs in six states




In 2012, BGI acquired Complete Genomics, a DNA sequencing company and equipment maker. The funds for the $117.6 million purchase were raised from Chinese venture capitals. The company has expanded its footprint globally. According to its website, BGI conducts business in more than 100 countries and areas and has 11 offices and labs in the U.S.

People are concerned about China’s access to American DNA data

Some said that with Complete Genomics providing an American base, BGI would have access to more DNA samples from Americans, helping it compile a huge database of genetic information. Some also worried about the protection of the genetic information’s privacy.

According to a 2019 report from the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), BGI “has formed numerous partnerships with U.S. healthcare providers and research organizations to provide large-scale genetic sequencing to support medical research efforts,”

There are three main reasons why many people in the biotech community and government have expressed concerns about China’s access to American DNA data.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Evanina discussed the very likely scenario in which Chinese companies would be able to micro-target American individuals and offer customized preventative solutions based on their DNA.

Evanina asked: “Do we want to have another nation systematically eliminate our healthcare services? Are we okay with that as a nation?”

The second concern is that China may use DNA to track and attack American individuals. As the USCC report states: “China could target vulnerabilities in specific individuals brought to light by genomic data or health records. Individuals targeted in such attacks would likely be strategically identified persons, such as diplomats, politicians, high-ranking federal officials or military leadership.”

The third concern is that China may devise bioweapons to target non-Asians. Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, discussed it in his article “What Will China Do With Your DNA?” published by The Epoch Times in March 2019.

He wrote: “We know that the Asian genome is genetically distinct from the Caucasian and African in many ways. … Would it be possible to bioengineer a very virulent version of, say, smallpox, that was easily transmitted, fatal to other races, but to which the Chinese enjoyed a natural immunity? … Given our present ability to manipulate genomes, if such a bio-weapon can be imagined, it can probably – given enough time and resources – be realized.”

An article from Technocracy said: “China’s aggressive collection of American DNA should be doubly alarming because it can only spell one ultimate outcome: biowarfare. That is, genetically engineering viruses or other diseases that will be selectively harmful to U.S. populations.”

Continue Reading