Shield HealthCare Caregiver Story Spotlight | 2011 “What Makes Caregiving Rewarding?” Story Contest
“Nice To Meet You”
Written by Tonja T., a nurse who shares her insightful view on caring for Alzheimer’s patients
I have the most fulfilling job. I work on an Alzheimer’s Unit. They begin each day as if it were the first day we have been acquainted. I enjoy the newness of each day. They re-experience the wonder of learning and exploring. Each morning I introduce myself and we begin our journey for the day. Exercise in the mornings, talk about the news, crafts and singing. We bake our own desserts, which is a joy to watch as each take their turn.
Several wander about looking for their mothers and fathers, though they have long since passed. It remains extremely sad to watch them wait for someone who will never show. I try to redirect them and let them sit and talk or sing with me. Some need help bathing, dressing and eating. There are several stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Each with its own set of challenges.
It takes a special kind of person to work with these beautiful people. This is the job I was destined to do when I became a nurse. I could not imagine a more fulfilling or memorable job. I am not only their caregiver, I am their friend, their nurse, their confidant and their protector. If anyone has had a family member with alzheimers, it can be stressful and sad to the families also. Families need the support of good caregivers also. This disease is often hard for families to understand. Someone they love no longer recognizes them, only seeing a stranger standing there. All hope of recovery lost to a disease that we have yet only begun to scratch the surface medically.
People with this type of dementia need someone who can look beyond the disease and see their every day potential. Even the smallest day-to-day task brings wonder and joy not only to the resident but to me.
Tomorrow is a new day and I know that when I walk into work I will be introduced to many familiar faces… “Nice to meet you.”