Experiences of a Young Caregiver

Written by Evereisy Portorreal

April 21, 2021

The story of a young caregiver.

When I volunteered to be a caregiver, I was oblivious about what the job required. The thought of helping the elderly and disabled always seemed like a great idea because they needed assistance. It wasn’t until I arrived and started working that I realized that caregiving is not just helping someone get up or go to the bathroom; it’s far more. Most of the people I interacted with were disabled. At Gateways to Change, I learned that physical help was needed and emotional and psychological assistance too. Elderly or disabled individuals need more than a helping hand. They need love and care, someone to talk to and express their emotions.

I was fortunate to work with six wonderful ladies, all special in their own ways. One of them impacted me so much, I never forgot her name. Although I won’t mention it for privacy reasons, this young lady was struck by a speeding vehicle and lost her ability to speak, walk, and barely move her arms. It was emotionally affecting to see the light in her eyes whenever I treated her to something sweet or simply handed her a favorite blanket. I always wished I could do more. We would spend countless hours talking, looking at old photographs, laughing, and simply having a good time. When I think about her, it made me want to do more for others. Being a caregiver was one of the most eye-opening experiences I have had in my life, and I will be a caregiver again. So many people are alone, and that’s where people like us come in. It’s not an easy job, but it sure is heartwarming, liberating, and life changing. My job was exceptional, and every day I looked forward to going to work and putting a smile on their faces.  

The difficult part of being a caregiver.

Being a caregiver comes with lots of perks, lots of experiences, and a chance to make great friends. Like everything in this world, there is a mixture of good and not so good. In my case, some moments weren’t so good. When I interviewed for a paid position, I was told all the great things that came with being a caregiver. But what is not explained is what you will go through on your own. I guess everyone is different, but I got emotionally attached to some of the ladies in my case. One lady, in particular, stole my heart. When she hurt, I hurt with her. No one explains that you grow to love the people you’re helping. For me, it was the medicine she didn’t like; it was the needles or the pain she endured when she had to simply get up from the chair. When it was someone’s time to pass, it affected me immensely. Some of the ladies I was pleased to look after were disabled from the waist down. I am emotional, and others’ pain became my pain. For that reason, my job was difficult. Being a caregiver is for strong people with lots of love to give without asking for anything in return. 

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