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Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Just One of Many Supports Through CRIS Healthy Aging

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Just One of Many Supports Through CRIS Healthy Aging
Grandmother Debbie Place chuckles when she talks about her three grandchildren moving in to her two-bedroom house all at the same time. “I still have my health and I’m glad I could be there for them but I thought I was retired.”

The Bondville resident is among other area caregivers in the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program who receive years of networking support through CRIS Healthy Aging - now a part of Carle Health. CRIS in Champaign has a new location at 4116 Fieldstone Road. Operations also will continue in Vermilion County at CRIS Healthy Aging, 309 N. Franklin Street in Danville. “They provide guidance and support and let me know I am not alone,” Place said.

School supplies, Christmas gifts and even a referral for help with a sewer bill that doubled are among benefits received by the grandmother and her family, but she points out her relationship with a case manager who reaches out once a month to see how she is doing that is most impactful.

Grandparents raising grandchildren is just one area at CRIS Healthy Aging, which serves as a center for research, resources and information in the two county locations. Central to CRIS is providing support for individuals over the age of 60 so they can maintain a healthy, active lifestyle at home. There is also support for the unpaid caregivers of loved ones through CRIS. Last year, CRIS served nearly 10,000 people.

The relationship between Carle and CRIS goes back a decade with formation of the CRIS Bridge Program at Carle Foundation Hospital. The bridge, now done by Carle’s Case Management team, helps patients when they leave the hospital stay connected with services to keep them safe, healthy and independent in their home.

“We are so excited to be part of Carle and together we will work to improve health outcomes,” Lisa Miller, executive director of CRIS, said. CRIS is part of Carle’s Community Health division and recently moved into a space in Champaign that is closer to the other Community Health services provided by Carle.

Laura Gallagher Watkin, director of strategic initiatives and programs at CRIS, said the new space in Champaign should provide clients greater ease in reaching its services and access to more classes on site as well.

Offered in both CRIS locations are information services such as help preparing income taxes, signing up for Medicare/Medicaid, applying for license plate discounts, and funding requests for food, clothing, utilities and other assistive devices. CRIS also offers the grandparents raising grandchildren assistance, memory care, reducing social isolation and classes in mastering aging for the older person and the caregiver as well as stressbusters for caregivers of those with dementia. Plans are to start an exercise program in 2023 at both locations.

Anyone over the age of 60 can access CRIS services and support, no matter their level of need. The Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program is open to grandparents 55 and older. Contact CRIS  Healthy Aging at (217) 355-1543 in Champaign or at (217) 443-2999 in Danville.

Categories: Culture of Quality, Staying Healthy, Community

Tags: Aging, Community Health, CRIS