Pedro is originally from Brazil, and moved to the United States when he was 21. While he lived in Brazil, he was a caregiver from the age of 12 for his grandmother, who had pulmonary fibrosis. Pedro was one of several family members who cared for his grandmother, but he was mostly responsible for her on the weekends, monitoring her oxygen levels and looking out for her needs. As Pedro grew older and his grandma’s care needs evolved, he began caring for her during the weekdays as well, along with his aunt and cousins.
Pedro’s grandma preferred to have her family be the ones caring for her, and Pedro explains that this is a very natural desire in his culture. He didn’t feel like he was pressured into caring for his grandma because it was something he wanted to do for her in order to give her the best care.
Pedro experienced a lot of personal growth while caring for his grandma, because she would teach him about life and what to look forward to. He did not recognize himself as a caregiver until he came to the U.S. because helping your family to care for your elders in Brazil was an everyday part of life. Pedro’s family would have never dreamed of putting their grandma in a nursing home.
Pedro acknowledges how stressful it can be to be a caregiver and to see your loved one deteriorating. He thinks mental health is extremely important for caregivers, and spoke of his own experiences of seeing a psychologist. He thinks mental health services should be provided to caregivers by the government, along with some sort of pay in order to support their care duties, especially when working a day job on top of caregiving responsibilities becomes impossible.