Lori is a GSIL Caregiver (pictured right), who for over 15 years has been caring for Rosie (pictured left), a woman born with Spinal Muscular Dystrophy, leaving her with mobility in her index fingers only.
Take a peek inside Lori’s experience as a GSIL Caregiver.
How did you get connected to GSIL?
I retired from my job in Littleton. I was looking in the paper for a camper because I was going to travel – my kids were all grown up. Well, I saw this ad for an every-other weekend PCA (Personal Care Attendant). I said, “Well, I’ll do that just to keep busy.” I haven’t left yet.
…And I never did get the camper!
What did you do for prior work?
I was a machinist. I worked in a factory [for many years]. Then I bought this house. And I bought this house because it was handicap accessible.
What is it like to be a Caregiver?
It’s very rewarding. You go through life knowing that you’re needed. Some people just go through life working just because they have to work. You have to work, but you’re also needed. It’s rewarding. A very rewarding job.
My day-to-day is different every day. It’s not monotonous. It depends on the weather… if it’s raining we go to the movies. We have cookouts. We hang out for 8-9 hours. We’re kind of together more than a married couple. But we’re best friends, so it’s cool. We have good days and bad days, but mostly good days! When I have my day off, I’m kind of lost!
How have you liked working with Rosie?
I’ve done more with Rosie in 15 years than I’ve done in my entire life. We spent 5 years every winter in Florida, we went to Disney World, we went to Vegas. Back before I worked for Rosie, all I did was work and raise kids – you never have time. It was cool to take her places just to see her eyes sparkle. You know, it’s Disney World! It’s cool that I was able to do that.
The hardest part, I think for me, is the mood changes of the individual you’re with. Because you’re not always bubbly. You just have to work together as a team. And sometimes it gets difficult, but when you’re there for the long haul, it will work.
When have you felt most passionate about the work you do?
That chair weighs 500 pounds and she was on her face. I was packing the van and I came back… I actually picked up that chair. I don’t know how I did it. She was on her face and she couldn’t breathe because it was a cement floor and I was actually able to hold up that chair until the ambulance came.
“I am a Caregiver because…”
I am a caregiver because it changed my life for the good. I have a life now, I feel. Not everybody can do this type of work. You have to have the passion for it. And when I moved here, I was kind of lost. Now I have a purpose in life. Some people find that in other ways. Some people can’t take care of people. I don’t recommend it to people who can’t stomach it. I’m a mother, so I think a lot of people who are mothers can do it and can relate. Rosie is my daughter, my sister, sometimes acts like my mother. It’s all combined into one. And sometimes she’s my enemy!
How has the support been from GSIL?
Awesome. Awesome. It’s a great company. Great! She [Rosie] has a great Service Coordinator. You can ask her anything and if she doesn’t know, she’ll get you the answers!
Would you like to make a difference like Lori?
Click here to learn more about Becoming a Caregiver.