Brazil is a family oriented country. We value every member of the family from the youngest and cutest baby to the oldest and wisest person. We celebrate babies and are extremely overjoyed when they come, but we also have respect and consideration towards our elderly people. We look up to them and go to them for advice and support.
It’s very common for extended families to live together. Two generations ago, it was common for the families to have many children. My grandparents, for instance, had twelve kids and they all lived with their parents for a long time. I remember living with my grandparents all the way up to my teen years. Then, I had the rare opportunity of traveling to a foreign country for school and living there with a family for five years.
In Brasil, it’s customary for the children to live with their parents until they get married. That is basically what parents, families and society expect. I believe that happens partly because it’s difficult for a single person to be able to support himself or herself and live on their own . Unless, the young person chose a great career and landed himself or herself an excellent job right after graduation. And if they happen to remain single and never improve their finances, they stay at their parents home.
When two young people marry, they usually both work and do their best to save money and improve their lives as they build a family together. And whenever, finances are not going well for them, it’s very normal for them to move back with of one their in-laws.
Then, as maturity comes along and aging sets in, it’s very natural for the parents to retire and live close to or move in with one of their children. We do not have many nursing or retirement homes in Brazil. According to a recent study done by the IPEA (Instituto de pesquisa Econômica Aplicada), an economy research organization, there are 20 million elderly people in Brazil and only 218 public nursing homes. Many of those people need care that they can’t get at home, so they have to go to one of those homes.
The government only contributes with 22% of the revenue needed for the homes. The rest comes from the elderly people, their families, and some philanthropic organizations. There are also some homes provided by religious organizations specifically for their own members who never married and don’t have any family that could provide them with a place to live.
Brazilian people value having their grandmas and grandpas around their families and do their best to accommodate them within their possibilities in spite of the lack of governmental resources.