Woman moved home to care for her mother
Published 2:00 am Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Armestine Graham takes on the role of caretaker in both her personal and professional lives.
Graham was born and raised Glenwood, where she lived for 20 years before she left for Connecticut. She came back five years ago to care for her mother.
“I am the only child and she needs my help,” Graham said. “My mother is 81, and I have to drive her to doctor appointments. She can take care of her daily things, but at that age, she needs assistance.”
Graham said she enjoyed the idea of taking care of her loved ones. She took care of her grandmother when she was in a nursing home and her grandfather during his last days. Graham and her mom also took in her uncle when he was diagnosed with cancer.
“There was nothing we could do that could have made (my uncle) live longer,” she said. “We were just trying to give him the comfort he needed.”
Graham’s passion for caring for others grew beyond her family to her career. After working for a health care agency for 26 years, Graham is now a caregiver at a local nursing home.
“I treat the (nursing home residents) as if they were family,” she said. “I truly enjoy what I do because I know I am helping somebody who cannot help themselves.”
From feeding resident to adding lipstick or perfume, she seeks to help them feel loved and appreciated.
“The way you take care of yourself, you should take care of them the same. Treat them with dignity the same way you want to be treated,” she said.
Graham said she enjoys the residents at the nursing home, who are mostly between 65 to 90 years of age.
“I have developed wonderful relationships with (the residents),” she said. “Everybody has something to tell you – either it is spiritual or sharing some recipes. I learned knitting and crocheting from them.”
Graham said working in the nursing home makes her become close to the people there.
“Some residents don’t have family members visit them,” she said.
“They don’t have the special feeling that you normally have during family holidays. I often times spend my money to buy them lotion, body wash or something that would make them feel nice at Christmas times or on their birthdays.”
Even though Graham works more than 40 hours a week at the nursing home and she sometimes has to take double shifts, she said she enjoyed this job more than others she had had.
“It means a lot to me to take care of the people at the nursing home,” Graham said. “I am sure they appreciate me and others like me. They just need somebody to rub their shoulders, their backs … Little things can mean so much to people.”