I remember growing up in the ’70s where grandparents lived with you, and they were never placed in assisted living homes. They stayed home and usually the daughter would care for them just as she would for her spouse and children. If you happened to be a stay-at-home mom, which many were this was just another responsibility added to your duties. Many women didn’t seem to mind as it was usually her own parents. However, if you are Hispanic like me you would know that putting your grandparents in an assisted living home meant that you or your family had somehow failed your ancestors and there was lots of guilt or shame attached to that decision and your family would be talked about.
But times are changing, and many women have a career outside of their homes and can’t attend the grandparents as it was done in the past. All this combined with growing diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and many more it has become a major challenge, and still until this day there are many Hispanics hesitant to accept nursing homes or assisted living for their parents. I know that in everyone’s home it’s a different situation but today I’m seeing lots of great growing options.
I myself took advantage of one of these options for my family. My mother is 74 years old and while she can still move around her everyday simple task are becoming harder on her especially because she has asthma and has severe low oxygen levels. She needs help with carrying laundry to the basement from the second floor, moping her floors, and doing all her chores. Every time I would hear her complain about not being able to keep up, I started thinking of how I could help her out. I myself have a bonkers schedule running my businesses, my brother has his own business and lives hours away and my two sisters have full-time jobs as well. I also felt guilty just thinking of bringing a stranger to her home. Then a few months ago I decided that matching up my college son who needs a flexible part-time job and my mother who prefers no strangers in her house, and it was a perfect match. I called an agency and got it approved via her insurance and today my son washes her clothes, sweeps, and mops her floors, he takes my mom grocery shopping and keeps her company all the time while bonding with his own grandmother and making money for college. But there is a cultural bonus which also has lots of guilt attached to it, kids of today not being able to communicate with your grandparents in their own native language. And my son is learning more Spanish with his grandmother. It doesn’t get any better than this.
I understand this setup can’t work for everyone. But being in sales I noticed that today there are many assisted-living at home businesses growing and so many of them have both bilingual aides and staff. This makes it easier to make these types of decisions. And many offer these services at no cost or reduced cost. With all these options I think it will also help with the guilt that has always been tied to this type of decision. There are options and you must choose the option that works best for you and your loved ones.
Rosa Julia Parra
Founder & Editor of Palo Magazine