By: Michelle Remold
This past Friday, April 4, would have been my grandpa’s 97th birthday. My grandpa passed away six years ago on Saturday, April 5. I have written about my grandpa before, but thought that this would be a good way to honor his memory and his birthday.
My grandpa had Alzheimer’s during much of my childhood. At first, visiting him in the nursing home was strange to me. I didn’t understand why everyone on his dementia care wing acted the way they did. Soon the ‘strangeness’ of visiting the nursing home was overshadowed by all the smiles I would get from the other residents and I enjoyed visiting with them and learning more about them. There were a few WWII veterans, a former teacher, a nurse, farmers, cooks, and more.
Looking back I learned many things from spending time in the nursing home. I learned patience, empathy, not to take things too seriously, and mostly I found my career path. I realized that I wanted to work with older adults and especially focus on those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Without encountering the effects of Alzheimer’s, I wouldn’t have discovered my passion. I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t had the experiences I have had with Alzheimer’s. I have had many people help me reach my goals and help me continue on this path, but my journey started with my grandpa and he will always be at the heart of why I chose my career. So here’s to remembering my grandpa on his birthday weekend and celebrating his memory.
Michelle graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with her Bachelor of Arts in Gerontology: Social Sciences and a minor in Family Studies. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Aging Studies and Nursing Home Administration from Minnesota State University Mankato.