Hi, I’m Mark a second-year Health Sciences major in Columbus, OH. This is my first job through the CaregiverUSA website. Right now, I’m a companion to an older guy, 82. I am hired to kind of just hang out with him and keep him company to make him less depressed and make sure he doesn’t get in a tough spot, you know. He just needs some basic looking after since he lives alone and has some back and hip problems. Yeah, maybe a little problem with remembering things from time to time. Like where he put his glasses or some important papers, but not too bad at this point.
A lot of the people looking for work on CaregiverUSA are female, as you would guess, and a lot of them have different kinds of nursing and healthcare credentials. I found out about this site from a girl in my Psych class who is doing some companion work through them. She said she basically could set her own hours, pay, location. Plus, they’ve got an arrangement going so I can get college credit toward my major. I’m thinkin’ why not? Beats bussing tables or working the drive-thru, if you can even find those jobs now.
This girl said males are encouraged to apply on this caregiver website, because there are some families looking for caregivers where they feel in their situation, a male is preferred. That’s the case with me. They (Don and his wife Liz) thought that Don’s father, Al (that’s the name of the guy I work for) would be happier and more cooperative if there was more of a young buddy/grandson aged type guy helping out who is able to talk about the stuff Al likes.
Al is an unusual, but kind of cool dude. A little slow getting around, has a lot of opinions about everything. He wasn’t sure exactly why I was there at first. I just kept showing up three times a week around 8:30 a.m. and saying Don and Liz were busy with whatever, so can I get him anything or do anything for him? After a while, he got used to seeing me at the usual time and started making plans for the day for us to do something.
He’s really into cars, which is one of the reasons his family hired me. I am a total gearhead. I own a ’68 Mustang Fastback, but I’m also seriously into ’57 Chevys and ’66 Jaguar XKE’s when I get the money to buy them. My mom complains that cars is all I care about. I’ve even lost a couple of girlfriends over it – no time for them. Blah blah.
Yeah well, cars are how I got this gig with Al. We scout out car shows wherever they may be, sometimes a couple hours away. I also take him to pre-owned (Al says “used”) car lots and we put the sales guys through their paces.
Al loves asking them about some obscure, random thing to watch the guys squirm, like do rear axles have torsen differential or limited-slip differential? We both figure the sales guys should know about what they’re selling, so we’re good with it. Occasionally, if something has a cherry body that actually interests Al to own, he makes some kind of half-baked offer. Lo and behold, somebody actually sold Al a totally tricked out ’64 Coupe DeVille Caddy for an unbelievable $18,500. It’s parked in Al’s custom built-out four car garage, along with his ’55 Caddy, ’62 Lincoln Continental, and ’67 Corvair Monza. Al loves showing me all the moves he’s got to outsmart the sales guys – the silent treatment, the walk out, etc. Sure, I already knew a lot of it, but occasionally he turns me on to a new tactic. I may use one or two of them myself someday.
I’ve been working for Al for about seven weeks. No problems really, except one day when we dropped by the hardware store to get some 3/8 inch bolts and Al got into it with the clerk over not knowing his stuff. I think Al was hungry, just had half a donut for breakfast. Pretty sure his back was hurting him, too. He went off on the guy some and so I kind of intercepted, figured out what the issue was, and got Al out of there pretty quickly so we didn’t make too much of a bad scene. Al didn’t think anything of it, no surprise there.
Don and Liz made me promise to tell them about Al’s mood and any problems. I told them, and they said it was par for the course. He’s always kind of been that way.
Oh yeah, back to cars. Al and I have tinkered around with my Mustang a couple times. Al knows his stuff, and he goes a little overboard, but I listen. Not much to do on Al’s cars, because he looks at them more than drives them, and keeps them in great shape. We go out on errands in one or the other just to keep them running good.
Once in a great while Al mentions his wife, Helen, who died about two years ago. I don’t have much to say about this, so I just listen. He showed me some pictures when I first started coming over there. He and Helen liked to bowl a lot, were on teams doing competitions. They liked camping, too, but Al sold their trailer a few months after she died, I think is what he said. Don and Liz told me he gets depressed sometimes. I guess I see it, so I just try to distract him, keep him occupied. It seems to work most of the time.
That’s about all there is to tell at this point. I keep going over there, and Al keeps on keepin’ on. I think I’m helping him. That’s what Don and Liz say anyway. They want me to continue doing what I’m doing. I’m liking the flexibility and the pay. And as I said, I like Al. I’m cool with it.
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