While working at a nursing home, Avery Morris, a sophomore studying sociology, was told by one of her residents: “I used to be someone, now I sit here forgotten.”
Morris promised her resident that she would not be forgotten. Morris currently works at a nursing home in Rexburg.
Caregivers are family or paid help who look after children, middle-aged people and elderly as well as sick or disabled people. Caregivers have the responsibilities of medicating, feeding, dressing, bathing and providing emotional support.
Lexie Merkley, a freshman studying nursing, works in a nursing home facility in Wisconsin. Merkley said one of her residents taught music, but with the resident’s illness, she would randomly kick, scream and spit.
“I turned on church music, and she calmed down and was pleasant again,” Merkley said. “It was really rewarding to me to know that we calmed her down with something so simple.”
Merkley said caring for the elderly or those who cannot help themselves has prepared her for motherhood. For example, there are times when she has to redirect the residents from a bad situation.
During one incident, Merkley had a resident who insisted on walking outside every day but would forget that she already went for a walk and go again.
For about five hours, the resident continued this cycle until Merkley noticed the empty coffee cup the resident always had with her. Merkley told the resident that she could get a cup of coffee, and soon the resident forgot about walking outside as she watched a show on TV.
Although some caregivers are paid practitioners, others receive no payments for their work. According to Caregiver Connection, “In general, unpaid caregivers make up 43.5 million people in the United States.”
Allison Nava, a BYU alumna, would never take back the adventure of caring for special-needs children.
Nava received her degree in special-needs education, and she currently works as a special-needs teacher in Utah.
Nava said one specific boy she cared for back in her home state of California had happiness to spread to the world. They would play with all the animals on the child’s farm and listen to all the jokes he shared.
“Seeing his smile or pure happiness just makes me think about the pure and simple blessings that are in my life,” Nava said.
There are many majors that go hand and hand with becoming a caregiver, but sociology has helped Morris become a better nurse and practitioner. She said it has helped her to reflect on the backgrounds of the residents and how they react with people and givers.
According to the BYU-I webpage, sociology is to evaluate all information that is given in situations, explain the world through the perspective of sociology and apply the knowledge to figure out issues.
Morris recalled her knowledge of sociology to help her with a difficult and irritable resident.
Morris said the resident was always complaining about how she was being neglected and Morris was good for nothing. Soon, Morris tried to avoid the resident at all cost, but one day she was forced to go into the resident’s room to help her. The resident looked at her and stated she knew how Morris felt she was the most ornery person in the place.
The resident explained how she used to be a great nurse, mother and was self-reliant, but now she can’t remember anything or go anywhere without someone’s help. The resident apologized for being mean and rude and simply asked if Morris could understand where she was coming from.
“At that moment, I realized I wasn’t the victim,” Morris said.
Morris grabbed her residents hand and simply said she would never be forgotten, but that now it is her time to be taken care of.
“By changing my focus and understanding, I saw the bigger picture,” Morris said. “I truly saw her.”