|$10/hr hourly rate
||$100/day live-in rate
My name is Alison. I am a 26-year old college graduate with a passion for helping others, providing companionship, and working hard to achieve a common goal. I studied English: Writing and Communication at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. While in college, my natural inclination for helping people and working hard became more apparent. In my communication courses I was given the opportunity to investigate and report on community issues. I realized then how much one person really can contribute to society with a constructive attitude and a willingness to work toward the betterment of our society.
However, it was not until a few months after college that I came to understand the importance of caring for other people on an individual and far more personal level. The spring after my graduation, my grandmother was diagnosed with severe dementia and, shortly thereafter, Alzheimer’s. It soon became clear that our beloved “Nana” needed full-time care. Nana moved in with my mother and me. We aided her with all of the daily tasks that I had previously thought of as simple, even mundane, activities that all humans must perform.. Although my grandmother had once been a wonderful cook, she suddenly could scarcely operate a microwave. I spent a great deal of time alone with her during this period. My mother worked a full-time job that she could not afford to quit, and I spent most days with my Nana, whom was becoming increasingly confused by the world around her. Her memories were chaotic and generally inaccurate. Her inability to figure out the world around her created a visible frustration in her that saddened me to my very core,
I began to wonder how I could better the situation. I read books on Altzheimer’s, I consulted friends, I spoke with doctors, and I began to get back my take-action attitude that I had applied to my school work and community. I began to see taking care of my grandmother as an opportunity. I read her favorite novels to her, we watched all the movies she loved, and we told stories often, and no matter how inaccurate or tangled her recollection was, I delighted in interacting with her in a positive way. We laughed more than we ever had before, and, although dementia is a heart breaking condition, I discovered how helping just one person is just as worthy a cause as helping a whole community as I had tried to do as a student. Moreover, I know now that caring for a person goes far beyond making sure they are eating well, bathing regularly, sleeping well, and all the many things that keep us physically alive. Indeed, companionship, laughter, happiness in the face of something perhaps devastating, and a persistent and genuine care are what I found to be the most important part of being a caregiver. Now, I hope sincerely that I will be given the opportunity to make a positive impact in the life of another individual in need.
|Mary Frances Smith