Samantha Shields, a resident of St. Paul and employee at Regions Hospital, is the daughter of a Minnesota senior.
Samantha began the aging journey with her mom five years ago when her mom was diagnosed with dementia.
Navigating the care system can be challenging at times, says Samantha, but it’s rewarding to know her mom is safe and receiving the care and services she needs to age well. “When you’re low income, you’re very limited and you have to spend days on the phone,” says Samantha. “Now, she’s five minutes away from me.”
The most rewarding part of being her mother’s caregiver is improving her mother’s cognitive and overall health. “My mother was on 12 medications at one point and now she’s down to two,” says Samantha. “She’s more cognitive and her whole attitude is better off medications.”
Taking time for herself was difficult at first, but Samantha understands the importance of self-care. “I’m trying to make more time for myself. I do every other weekend now,” says Samantha. “I enjoy going to the Como Zoo, and I’m also writing a book for caregivers.”
Samantha believes senior care should matter to all Minnesotans, and it’s our responsibility to truly listen to the needs of loved ones. “Listen to whoever you’re taking care of and don’t assume that you know what’s best for them,” says Samantha. “They took care of us. Now it’s our turn.”
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Samantha. Your voice is vital as we advocate for awareness and address the needs that accompany the reality of a rapidly aging society.
Are you walking through the aging journey with a loved one? Would you consider sharing your own story? Answer five questions here for a chance to be featured on the Face Aging MN blog: https://goo.gl/DS5F67.