"My grandmother is my inspiration for so much of what I do. She was an organizer and a teacher, and worked to earn her PhD while raising her children. Now I work organizing volunteers to work with elementary students and I'm inspired by her every day.
My grandmother doesn't know this, no matter how many times I've told her. She has severe Alzheimers, and can't know how much she means to me. She is frequently disoriented, can't hold a thought from one moment into the next, and cannot be left alone.
We're lucky that my grandfather can be her primary caregiver and they can stay in their home. My grandfather is aging as well, and has had several surgeries in the past five years. I help out one weekend a month, and just the last time I visited them, he slipped in their backyard. We're lucky that he only suffered bumps and bruises.
I wait for the call that something, large or small, has happened to my grandfather and I need to care for my grandmother indefinitely and immediately. Since I don't receive paid family leave, I know that I would not only have to step away from the work I love and my grandmother inspires, but I would be forced to go without pay to care for her."