Having had a Home Health Aide with a certificate from the American Red Cross, I worked with the elderly in their homes and Assisted Living facilities and I loved it. For 5 years I had a lovely client who became very dear to me and I enjoyed taking good care of her.
We went to the park, for lunches, and she enjoyed taking drives when the weather was good, getting ice cream and that kind of thing. I assisted her with exercise, she loved throwing the ball because it reminded her of her grandsons. I made sure I did this most of the time so she would be happy.
She always gave me stories about her family and her late husband (she always became very sad) that she didn't get to see them anymore. The family was not very pro-active in her life and she considered us as her family.
Nonetheless, I made sure she got everything that she needed and kept her as comfortable as possible. She was a lovely lady.
The last two years, I started noticing some differences in her; she started forgetting things, started losing her temper (which she never did) and was more confused than usual. A year later she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and by this time there was a complete turn-around in her personality. She got very "mean", was not co-operative and her eating habits changed. We could not go out for activities and do everything that she liked to do. It was like night and day.
NB: The word means above is in quotation mark because I never knew Mary to have an ounce of meanness. It was definitely the disease that took so much from her. It was sad to me because I knew she was not coming back. She was deteriorating fast and most of the time she did not recognize me. Sometimes she looked at me with some sort of recognition and smiled but it was lost in a second. I guess there was a little ray of hope that she could at least remember the person who was with her for a while, nearly every day.
Earlier this year, I lost my "dear", she died from pneumonia complications and it was a sad day for me. But then something occurred to me - I have always wanted to become a Nurse but I now got a stronger purpose to do it!!! I would complete my Nursing school and if I would go to work with people diagnosed with Dementia, maybe even get involved with some research, this would really give me an even higher purpose.
My Mary left me with a purpose and I know not to judge a person with Alzheimer's or anyone at all, because it's a disease and not a manifestation of what the person is. She made me a better person and I am going to be a better student nurse who is looking to get into Geriatric Nursing. Without a doubt, I will excel.