Rob was in a car accident years ago, which means Brenda normally has to take him to doctor appointments and help him with his medication. In addition to Rob’s medical condition, the couple care for their daughter and grandson, whom they often help through daily life. Their daughter has a condition that requires she often be reminded of things, and Brenda and Rob manage and help control any emotional outbursts from her and their grandson. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic forcing virtual schooling, Brenda also keeps her grandson on track with his work.
Brenda and Rob are active in their caregiver support group, PALS. For many years, Rob was the only male in the group, but he never felt like an outsider. He and Brenda have been in the group for over twenty years and have enjoyed getting to know their peers and watching the other care recipients grow up. Though Rob and Brenda understood they’d be providing lifelong care for their daughter as soon as she was born, it was in the PALS group that they fully came to realize their roles as caregivers.
They are extremely proud of the work they do within the group, where they provide support for other caregivers and participate in group trips. They often promote the group to other caregivers who might find it helpful. In fact, the thing they find most rewarding about being caregivers is not only that they can be there to their family, but that they can support others in realizing that they can help their own families through caregiving, as well.
Fortunately, the pandemic has not stopped Brenda and Rob from attending their support group, which meets virtually over Zoom. However, the inability to leave the house is very challenging for them. Rob mentions that they try to keep busy helping their family members and watching soap operas, and that they’re not too concerned about the future because they’ll keep doing what they’ve always done.
As African American caregivers, Brenda and Rob find themselves the figureheads of a large, multi-generational family. All of their relatives are supportive of Brenda and Rob’s caregiving endeavors, and they are often the first call a family member makes when they need any sort of help or advice.
Brenda and Rob have petitioned locally through their caregiving group for policies that better support caregivers but have yet to see much change. They believe that caregivers need to be paid for the work they do taking care of their families. They are also proud of the group’s ability to disseminate information to the wider community, because they believe they are a good source of trust. In these difficult times, Rob simply wants everyone to be safe.