We are honored to announce the January Caregiver of the Month as Michelle Bowen of Indianapolis! Congratulations, Michelle! Michelle is a caregiver to her grandmother who is 91 and her grandfather who is 86. Michelle is described as a “ray of sunshine” to her grandparents.
Michelle has been caring for her grandparents for over 7 years and living with them for the last 4 years. Michelle’s grandmother broke her hip 4 years ago and Michelle realized that she could better care for her and her grandfather is she was living with them full time. Michelle cooks, cleans and helps them take their medications. She also curls her grandmother’s hair. Not only is Michelle a full time caregiver but she works a full time job as well.
Recently, Michelle’s grandmother has been displaying early symptoms of dementia. Michelle says this is especially difficult to deal with at times because her grandmother doesn’t always understand what she is saying and some of the things she says can be hurtful. Michelle also struggles with helping her grandfather because he deeply values his independence and doesn’t always want to ask for help.
Michelle says that one of her biggest struggles as a caregiver is keeping up with everything. Besides caring for two people, taking care of the house is also stressful. She says it is very difficult for her to socialize and get our herself as well. In a way, moving in with her grandparents was also a loss of independence for Michelle.
“It’s a lot like having kids,” Michelle says. “You have to put them first.”
When asked what keeps her going, Michelle simply responded, “Love.”
If Michelle does get a free moment, it is usually late at night. She enjoys watching murder mysteries and curling up with some popcorn to relax. If she does get some free time during the day, which is rare, she likes going to the mall or to the movies with friends.