Personal Experience with Alzheimer’s Disease

As some of you may know, I am a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). For about 100 or more hours every month, I dedicate my time and love to my residents. I know many other CNA’s that would never dedicate this much time to people they don’t even know, but my residents mean so much more to me. Many of my residents do not live near their families anymore, so my co-workers and I are their family now. I spend weekends, morning, afternoons, nights, holidays, and birthdays with these amazing people. I am blessed to be able to do so!

I know a lot of people just think of CNA’s as “professional butt wipers”, but I can tell you we are much more than that. We are the people that reassure them when they are crying because their family never comes to see them. We are the ones that makes them feel better after that have awoken from a bad dream. We are the ones that kiss them goodnight and tell them that we love them. We are the ones that could even be holding their hand when they take their last breath.

I dread work somedays, but no matter what job you have, you are going to dread work somedays. It is by no means an easy job, but it is a rewarding job. To see the residents smile at you when you wake them up in the morning, to hear them say “Oooh honey it is soo good to see you today!”, to listen to how appreciative they are of you. It warms my heart and makes all of the sore feet and back pains worth it.

Many of my residents suffer from a type of dementia. Many of them have Alzheimer’s disease, a few of them have Parkinson’s disease. Many family members choose not to come visit because it is too hard for them to see their loved ones like that, but I am the one that sees it all first hand. It is hard to watch someone you care so much about be in so much pain and discomfort. It is hard to watch them shake so uncontrollably that they can no longer feed themselves. It is hard to watch them lose so much weight because they can’t do anything besides sit down. It is hard to watch them lose their minds because of this horrible disease.

I have a resident, and I am not able to tell you her real name, so I will call her Barbara. She is the sweetest lady, but she suffers from Parkinson’s disease. She has other diagnosis, but Parkinson’s effects her the most. She is very stiff all of the time, so it is hard for her to move around anywhere, even with a lift. She shakes uncontrollably and can no longer feed herself without spilling all over. She has very bad mood swings and around 12pm daily, she suddenly thinks everyone is out to get her. She knows that we all love her so much, but this horrible disease just takes over your mind. Again, I am the one that reassures her, holds her hand, kisses her and tells her I love her. It calms her down, and I’d do anything to make them comfortable. She has family that comes to visit, but they are not there often.

I also have a resident named Ron. Not his real name, but I am not able to tell you his real name. Anyways, he is a very sweet man, but he suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. His favorite day is Sunday because he gets to see his family and be close to God. He has a hard time remembering where he is, why he has to be there, when things are happening, and why he has to do certain things at certain times. It is not easy to reassure him because he is very set in his ways. I do my best to calm him down and make him comfortable, but sometimes it it impossible.

Being a CNA isn’t easy. It is very physically and emotionally demanding. It takes a lot of patience and love to be able to do what I do. I believe that it takes a special person to be able to be a CNA and love someone that they barely even know like they are their grandma or grandpa. I love my job, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

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