Ask a Mexican

This week we asked: How are the oldest people in your family being cared for? In their home? In a relative's home? Do they have any income at all?

1.Julio Hernandez, 31, nurse.

My great grandmother is still with us, she owns a little yarn shop in the first floor of her house and lives on the second. She can go up the stairs fine, but very slowly and refuses to close her shop or move out or let anyone in the family move in. She says she’s fine and doesn’t need anyone. She hardly has any customers, but all the neighborhood goes and buys whatever she has left. My uncles and dad pay her bills for her and deliver her groceries, my aunts take care of the medical stuff. I guess I’m sort of proud of her in a way, I think that when she stops working she’ll just fade away.

2.Ramses Diamante, 27, maintenance.

My grandpa on my mom’s side is quite sick and lives at our house. He has his own room and everything, and he’s okay most days but then he gets some bad days when he can’t get out of bed. He doesn’t have an income except for his social security check which he gets every month but it’s not even enough for his medicine. He likes to water the plants when he can and whistles all day long, I guess that’s what keeps him sane. At first it was a little annoying, but now when he doesn’t whistle because he feels sick it’s very sad to hear a silent house.

3.Sergio  Rivera, 29, loader.

Both of my grandparents live in their houses still. My grandads on both sides still have their jobs and my grandma on my dad’s side takes care of my nieces when my aunt is at work, for which she gets a little money. My grandma on my dad’s side makes cushions and embroidered stuff which she sells to neighbors, friends, and pretty much everyone who she knows. They said last Christmas that they wanted to be put in a home when they’re older, all four of them, they’re pretty close friends. But I don’t think that will happen, first because they won’t take them in together, they are all loud and so crazy, second because I think the family would freak.

4. Nayeli Ramirez, 19, receptionist.

I only have a grandma left, and she lives with my aunt who never married. They are the ones in charge to make the big dinners on Sunday and all the family events, they have the biggest house. My grandma doesn’t have an income of her own but she receives my deceased grandpa’s pension money, which is quite high because he was a big politician. Still, it’s not enough to make a living so every one of her children pitch in, except for one who decided he wasn’t part of the family, but we haven’t heard from him in ages.

5. Patricia Marquez, 32, photographer.

My grandpa lives in an “apartment” my dad built for him in our house. He has his own entrance and kitchen and doorbell, cooks for himself when he wants to, but eats with us mostly. He lives off the rent of many properties he bought when he was younger, which my dad and uncle manage, and he has a little office where he gives accounting advice, but normally doesn’t charge because his customers are almost always his friends and they mostly drink coffee and whiskey. And talk about the good old days.

6. Mauricio Cervantes, 30, respiratory technician.

My grandma has a ranch with sheep and hens that her kids bought for her. She sells the sheep and hens sometimes. I’m not sure if she makes a living of it, we don’t drive out to see her as often as we would like because it’s kind of far away, but we try to make it every two months at least. My aunt lives in a ranch walking distance away, so she sees her every day. In my grandma’s house there are two ladies living there who keep her company and clean up and cook, but she says they’re her friends. She teaches the single ladies from around the town to sew, knit, cook and stuff, and she charges them.