Diane Adams always had a job that paid the bills, but she couldn’t shake the feeling that she should also be doing something that makes a difference in people’s lives.
When she was unable to work for a few months after an operation, she started visiting her grandmother in a nursing home and saw that many residents there needed more help and companionship.
Feeling motivated, Adams applied to Emerald Nursing School and earned her qualification as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). She started working the night shift with terminal patients at one of the biggest hospitals in El Paso, Texas, after graduation.
Then a fateful call about her son’s car accident changed her life. Her son suffered a traumatic brain injury from the accident and unfortunately did not recover from it. Adams took care of him until he passed away at the age of 21.
Compassion and Patience in Caregiving
Adams eventually relocated to Pennsylvania to live closer to her family. Professional caregiving became an obvious option when she looked for work in a new town.
Although Adams has experienced profound loss in both her personal and professional lives, she faces every day with optimism and gratitude. She joined Right at Home Pottstown as a full-time caregiver in 2012, providing in-home care and assistance to seniors living with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Caring for people with memory loss diseases is not always easy, but Adams is up for the challenge. She puts things in perspective and works her way around any conflicts that arise. To Adams, caregiving is not a job that one should take simply to collect a paycheck. A good caregiver needs to have an extreme amount of patience and compassion for other people.
Engaging People With Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Alzheimer’s and dementia are neurodegenerative diseases that progress over time. Patients’ ability to communicate gradually diminishes and they can no longer do things on their own, but Adams is good at finding ways to engage them with their passions.
For example, she would drive one client up to the lake where he spent summers with his family, and take another client to her mother’s gravesite where she has not been able to go for years.
“There’s really no task too big or inconvenient that I wouldn’t do to help my clients,” says Adams. “It may be something small to me, but to them it can be very meaningful. Aging can be hard when you can no longer do things for yourself. I like helping others maintain their dignity, even when things get tough.”
Hilary Young is a writer dedicated to helping older Americans live healthier, more fulfilling lives. She currently blogs for HuffPost50, Fifty Is The New Fifty and Medical Guardian. You can find her on Twitter as @hyoungcreative.