I am truly devoted to my work and love every minute of it. If you would like to know my story of why I chose Geriatrics I will be glad to share. Could be boring to some !! Several years ago my mom died suddenly leaving my dad alone as we were all married and away from home. My dad had MS and needed to be taken care of. My younger sister took him in and managed to keep him in her home for two years. As the disease progressed and it became impossible for my sister to continue his care and also raise her family, we faced the most difficult decision of our lives. My sister's and I decided we had to put him in a home. I will never forget to my dying day the anguish we felt at reaching this decision. We chose a great home but as dad still had his mind it was very difficult for him to accept. Over time he learned to come to terms with it but it always left and ache in my heart. He died about 5 years later. When my dad was admitted to the home I had just left a full time job of seven years as an occupational health nurse with a steel manufacturing company. I was burnt and looking forward to some time spent at home and some time for me.As I lived over a thousand miles from my dad there was little I could do but phone, write and visit infrequently. The burden of meeting dad's daily needs was left to my two sisters who lived in his home town. I began to try and think of ways to help and want I could do to contribute living in another province. On a whim I applied to the local nursing home and during my interview explained the recent placement of my dad and told them I would like to work there and care for others parents as I hoped my dad was being cared for. I was hired !!!
Fourteen years later I continue to work in the same long term care facility and specialize in Alzheimer's. There is something so special about these people that I adore. After placing my own dad I often recall my feelings during his adjustment period and work closely with families admitting loved ones. It is probably one of the most stressful times in their lives and I attempt to let them know that what ever they are feeling, from anger to guilt, is all normal and things will get better. the majority of the time the resident makes the adjustment far quicker than the family.
After only one year of "floating" from area to area I became a permanent part time in our secured Alzheimer's unit. I took courses and eventually began to teach staff methods of communicating with the cognitively impaired. As well I gave in services to families and a brief introduction to all our new employees during orientation. I still, to this day, love what I do. I maintain a positive attitude and carry a heavy sense of humour which will take you a long way. Each resident is treated as a unique individual who is probably someone's parent.Could have been my dad!! I see beyond the disease and see what each person used to be. I treat with love and respect and maintain their dignity.
To sum up why I do this work as the rewards are few and far between allow me to share this story. One day as A.M. was being given to a very non verbal resident I was chattering away as if he was listening and part of the conversation. Talking of who knew what but it was important to me to treat him as normally as possible. Suddenly he looked at me and said very clearly..."you love me don't you?" Any more questions as to why I chose this work??