Saturday, May 12, 2007

Googling Personal Assistant - pay is $100,000 a year?

At, it can be, because they are looking for personal assistants for celebrities.

Tomorrow is Mother's Day and I think it's a really good time for those of us who have personal assistants, family caregivers or generous friends to stop and say thank you - and , more than that, to honor how important they are to us in our lives.

Those of us with disabilities are sometimes called inspirational. But people don't call my personal assistant inspirational - yet she is the one who shows up, does what needs to be done to care for me on a steady basis and makes me comfortable.

What's it like to have a personal assistant? Well it's different for me than an actor or celebrity. I don't ask her to shop for my favorite perfume or makeup (although I could). We're too busy getting the basics done around here - sometimes together. For me as a quadriplegic, my personal assistant is my hands. She opens what I can't, writes what I struggle to, signs, seals and ships things. She zippers, buttons, inserts batteries, cartridges, and sets up new appliances. She changes lightbulbs and litter. She cuts up my food, then cracks a joke. She pets the cat, hugs the cat, then touches my shoulder and looks me in the eye. And that's just on a Wednesday.

"Need anything else?" she asks.

Yeah I do. Today I need to tell you that you are my hero. You are inspirational.

I wish I could write a song or book or become famous - not because I want fame but because I could pay personal assistants better. The least I can do is to show my gratitude to the REAL personal assistants of this world - the ones who do the important work, although society doesn't recognize their worth.

Thank you to my personal assistant, Meredith - for your spiritual generosity , compassion, empathy and kindness. I know you have better things to do- like write books, sign autographs and go on speaking engagements. I admire your spirituality and how you walk the walk and don't just talk the talk in life. You are an inspiration to me.

And, by the way, readers might want to see what Meredith has to say on the subject of caregiving and volunteering in her book: Deliberate Acts of Kindness: Service as a Spiritual Practice by Dr. Meredith Gould. (Two of her other books are to the right on my sidebar and you can find more of her books over at - with more books to come.)


Never That Easy said...

What a great tribute. My Mum happens to be my caregiver, and I could never recognize or thank her enough. Where would we be without them? I shudder to think. (honestly)

guidedog43 said...

Good post. I'd have to thank my friend Jenny who drives me places, my dad who tells me jokes when I'm down and my buddy Al who brings me McDonald's when I call him at 8pm and complain I can't drive there myself. Without these people I'd find life much harder.

Anonymous said...

You know what they say about how people who are really spiritual do the work of the Lord here on earth? You've found one. Glad you appreciate her.

bob said...

Some times I read a post that makes me cry or laugh. Some times I read a post that makes me feel hope about the human race. This one did all of that. God bless you both.

Robert said...

I am a caregiver in Traverse City, Michigan. I am barely paid for the service that I offer my client. The State has deemed that I only need 43 hours a month, regardless of what i have said to them about the primary care time is at nights being "on watch" / " Fall Prevention".

The other issue is that I have the Dept. of Housing against me in as much as them allowing me to stay (even with a Doctor's letter) with my client as to her night time condition.

i think this is about as rude to a caregiver that anyone can possibly be. But this is the life of a Caregiver... to be trodden upon by the powers that be.

It is not a thankless job, it is highly rewarding when everything goes right and one is able to see/feel the results of one's hard work. This is why I continue to do it, regardless of the circumstances.

Ruth said...

Robert-- thanks for stopping by and sharing about your experiences as a caregiver. It's true that the job is misunderstood and hassles abound (ones that don't need to be!) on top of the low pay, long hours and lack of backup. People like you who really care deserve recognition. This post isn't much - but know that you are appreciated. :)