shared courtesy of MPR News
MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minnesota — The morning routine for the six people living at the Diane Road Group Home is a lot like yours. They get out of bed, get dressed, have their teeth brushed and eat breakfast, then get on the bus to work.
Before the bus comes, though, there are medicines that must be prepared, wheelchairs moved and breakfasts made. It’s work that falls to the group home’s caregivers, and each day, it seems, a new challenge tests them.
One day, something wasn’t right with Sarah Gonella. Caregiver Cat McNamara, 35, held her up as she walked her from her room to the breakfast table. Gonella fixed her gaze on the ceiling as direct support professional Rosie Moriarty tried to shift her attention to a plate of sausage and French toast.
“Her eyes are, like, crossing,” McNamara said. “Let me observe her, maybe she’s having a seizure,” Moriarty responded.
The caregiver team adjusted quickly. One scanned Gonella’s file and prepared the right medication as the house’s other two attendants kept a close eye on her while getting everyone else ready. Gonella, 32, stayed at home, sick.
The scene that morning captured — in a few moments — the daily life of a group home caregiver. They play vital roles helping people with disabilities live as independently as possible.