Jasmine Ereaux always knew she wanted to pursue a career in the medical field. What she didn’t expect was the strong bond she would build with Margaret, a resident at an assisted living facility where she worked. Jasmine is now Margaret’s in-home caregiver and shares her unique experience as a young professional caregiver on TikTok. While she and Margaret have an 80-year age gap, she is able to find so many similarities between them. Jasmine truly cares for Margaret’s dignity and focuses not only on her healthcare needs, but also on her appearance and personhood. Jasmine shows us that there is a difference between caring and administering care.
- Beasy Board for bed transfers
- Example of a Gait Belt for transfers
- TikTok: @jasmineereaux
- Instagram: @jasmineereaux
About Jasmine Ereaux
Jasmine Ereaux is a current college student and caregiver to Margaret Presley – a 100 year old, double below the knee amputee. Jasmine shares both practical caregiving and moments of connection with Margaret on her TikTok and Intagram.
[00:00:03] Jasmine: During that time, one of the people that I met there was Margaret and she became the lady that I took care of every day at work. I kind of solidified my spot with Margaret. I was like, okay, I’m gonna be the one to get her up every morning, like back off.
[00:00:21] Dannelle: 20-year-old Jasmine Ereaux always knew she wanted to pursue a career in the medical field. So, when the opportunity to work in an assisted living facility came up, she decided to give it a try.
[00:00:36] Working there, she expected to learn new skills and better understand what she wanted to do in healthcare. What she didn’t expect was the bond she would build with the residents, especially one in particular named Margaret. Fast forward to now, Jasmine is now Margaret’s in-home caregiver. She shares their special relationship and her unique outlook on life as a young caregiver on TikTok.
[00:01:11] Welcome to The Caregiving Soul. I’m Dannelle LeBlanc.
[00:01:18] [Music Ends]
[00:01:18] Jasmine: I had come to a point where I just couldn’t really handle emotionally engaging like so much with so many different people and having them pass away on me. It was just a very, very sad but happiest time for me because I got to meet all of them, but they always would leave. So, I went into in-home caregiving actually.
[00:01:43] But actually right before I had left the assisted living, Margaret’s daughter was there and I just kind of threw out, I was like, “If you ever need a private in-home caregiver, like, let me know because I adore and I love your mother and I would love to take care of her”. So, fast forward, probably like eight months, Margaret got very sick, so she was put on hospice so when she was put on hospice, there was not a good chance of her surviving what she was going through.
[00:02:14] She was very ill at the time and just was not doing well. Like all of her family were coming in to kind of say their final goodbyes. But [Music] at that time, she called me and she was like, “I would still love for you to come take care of my mother. She’s not doing well”. And, of course, I agreed.
[00:02:30] And so the stars kind of aligned too, because we talked about it, and this is like what I always wanted because I cherish their mother so much. And I was asking her, I was like, “Where’s, where do you guys live?” And she sent me their address and they lived 10 minutes away from me. Just down the street. I went over there, and Margaret had inevitably graduated hospice, basically, went completely back to normal. And now I’ve been working with her at her home for about two years, I think.
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[00:03:04] Dannelle: Wow, that is amazing. I think you are so right. The stars definitely aligned, and it also sounds a little bit to me as if not only have you been taking care of Margaret, but she’s been taking care of you in some ways –
[00:03:24] Jasmine: Oh, a hundred –
[00:03:24] Dannelle: – as well.
[00:03:25] Jasmine: – percent. She always talks to me about that, about how she feels so terrible that I have to take care of her, like on such a physical manner. But I, I tell her, I’m like, “Not only do I take care of you physically, but mentally you keep me stable. Like you keep me so sane, Margaret”. [Laughs]
[00:03:41] Dannelle: That is amazing. An amazing connection. It’s so special. How do you continue to build the bond that you have, which is not just companionship, and, you know, getting along, but it, truly love and trust, especially given the age gap.
[00:04:06] Jasmine: So, before I even came on this podcast, I had asked her this question and she told me what she believed is the first part is like through conversating, because every morning we have breakfast together and connect with each other on each other’s feelings, because we’re very intertwined with our families And not only that, but like what you said with the different age gaps, we’re able to see the two different perspectives. I’m able to see what life was like. She was born in 1922 and today is 2023, so it’s been a hundred years.
[00:04:41] So, I’m able to hear about her life growing up, what she went through in her teenage years, and especially in her twenties, and as someone in my twenties, not all, like obviously it’s very different times and a lot of things are different, but at the same time, they’re the same. What she went through is very similar to what I go through now, whether it’s with boys, friendships, family issues, schoolwork, it all just like intertwines together. So, we have that connection that, I mean, if we went back to the past and we were the same age, we’d still get along the same.
[00:05:17] Dannelle: It’s so interesting how the landscape can change, depending on when we were born, but the kinds of relationships and challenges we have in life recycle.
[00:05:31] Jasmine: Mm-hmm
[00:05:31] Dannelle: They remain the same. Oh, that’s wonderful. So, you guys started using TikTok to share your bond with others. Can you tell us a little bit about how that started?
[00:05:47] Jasmine: [Laughs] That was a very like unexpected thing that really happened. So, prior to TikTok, and what I still do on TikTok is I take videos of me putting hair rollers on Margaret’s hair and we conversate. And so, that’s, that’s just been a part of our daily routine since I’ve known her, even like at the assisted living.
[00:06:09] And so, I had actually purchased hot rollers for myself, influenced by Margaret, because I was doing her rollers all the time and I was like, these look amazing on her hair. I need to try them out –
[00:06:21] Dannelle: [Laughs]
[00:06:21] Jasmine: – on my own. And so, I bought hot rollers, and I actually recorded a video of me using them And at the end of the video I showed a clip of Margaret, because how could you not? And a couple people were on the comments like, “Oh, like, let’s meet Margaret”. And so, I was like, okay. Like of course, like this is perfect because I’ll be able to show people how much I love her, but also allow people to love her as much as I do.
[00:06:50] And I decided introduce Margaret first off, and record us conversating while putting the rollers on her hair. And I wasn’t really shocked. I expected that people would just absolutely adore her, and they did because Margaret, although she’s a hundred years old, she’s very cognitively there. She’s very articulate with her words. You can have these amazing conversations with her. So, allowing people to hear us conversate is like, it’s very therapeutic from what I’ve heard from others because a lot of them have lost grandparents and Margaret’s just a calming soul.
[00:07:26] Yeah, so we made that video and I guess a lot of people saw it, about 260,000 likes on it. I was like, “Margaret, do you realize like 260,000 people liked, really like, loved our conversation and all this and thought you were just so beautiful and funny”. And she’s like, “Oh darling”, like that’s one things she always say like, “Oh darling”, like, “No, no, no”. And she’s also a very humble person. Just when I let her know that people love her and like think she’s so beautiful, she’s very humble, so she doesn’t like to take that in.
[00:08:01] [Music Ends]
[00:08:02] So, I use TikTok as a platform for many different things. Originally it was just to post my own content and I wouldn’t even consider it content. It was just like silly videos. I didn’t get any recognition for it. But, I then used it to show off Margaret because she’s amazing, like I’ve said before, but also to acknowledge the aspects of caregiving and show the behind the scenes of what it’s like to be a caregiver, especially for a double below the knee amputee.
[00:08:30] And not only that, but it was a platform for her family to see what she was doing, because a lot of them don’t live in the same area as us, so it allowed them to have a way to see how she’s doing. It allowed them to keep in touch from a distance. And they all made their separate TikTok accounts so they could watch our TikToks, and they started sharing it on their Facebook platform. So, not only the family was watching, but also family and friends. So, it allowed them to all engage with Margaret on a different level.
[00:09:04] Dannelle: Aww, that’s wonderful and so important for those family members who are too far away to be there, but love and care about her and may feel disconnected. That is another gift that you’ve given to Margaret, and by extension to her family. You’ve got a video showing the process of assisting her from waking up to transferring her to her wheelchair. How did you learn those types of skills in such a respectful and empowering way for Margaret?
[00:09:48] Jasmine: So, when I first met Margaret at the assisted living, I eventually did meet her daughter, and her daughter was actually the one who taught me how to properly transfer her. And since she is a double below the knee amputee, at first she was using a wooden board. So basically, the wooden board is inserted under her bottom from, whether it’s the bed, the toilet, all that, to the wheelchair. And she is able to still, to this day, at a hundred years old, mobilize herself on her own. And all I have to do is hold the board.
[00:10:21] But now when we are transferring her from like her bed per se, she has this thing called a Beasy Board, which is like a new little invention for caregiving and transferring, where it is a board with a sliding disc. And so, that is what we use now to this day for her bed transferring. But if we’re doing toileting, we use the wooden board.
[00:10:42] It’s also comes with communication, learning what’s comfortable for her. Seeing if I’m, if something I do hurts her or if something I do makes her even more comfortable. And not only that, like using a gait belt with caregiving, especially when people who are immobilized, it’s important to just use a gait belt because it keeps them feel stable and that if they were to fall, that you have that extra way to grab onto them and make sure that they are safe.
[00:11:11] Dannelle: Yes, tools like that are key, and along with communication. I wish, um, I had been aware of those types of devices. Just something just so simple like that.
[00:11:27] Jasmine: Mhmm.
[00:11:27] Dannelle: So, tell us about how you do some of the activities of daily living, like bathing? You talked about hair care and just getting dressed?
[00:11:43] Jasmine: So, when it comes to taking care of Margaret, a lot of our care in the mornings take place in her bed. So, in the beginning of the morning, I come and wake her up and usually she’s up and at ’em, she got her beauty rest. She’s looking very well rested. So, I’ll go in and I’ll get her all situated. And she requires a lot of pillows around her just because she needs to be mobilized in bed. And as someone who’s an amputee, it is bound to happen that you get pressure sores. So, a lot of that is to make her comfortable and make sure that a lot of the pressure is lifted off of the pressure sores.
[00:12:19] So, I’ll begin by taking out all of her pillows, all that, getting her laid down in bed. And the first step to all of it is giving her a bed bath. So, clumsy undressing, but it’s a little different because you have to use the rolling technique, which I think a lot of caregivers know about. And it’s a skill that you learn, whether you’re an HCA or a CNA, how to properly roll someone without hurting them.
[00:12:43] So, we’ll do a bed bath, and a bed bath entails a fresh bucket of water with a rinse bucket, and two different rags. And you will take the rag with the soap, and you do a little wash, and then you rinse. And so, you do all that, and making sure to get every nook and cranny, make sure that you’re fully rinsing off the soap, drying off and powdering specific areas.
[00:13:10] One thing that I learned through assisted living and that always frustrated me was in these caregiving aspects, so many people never really paid attention to the skin of these people, because they’re elderly people and they have very fragile skin and also dry skin, and a lot of people just forget about that part of it. So, when I work at the assisted living, so many people just, I would simply put lotion on them, and they came with me with so much gratitude because I was the only person that took time out of their day to simply put lotion on them.
[00:13:49] And then after all that’s said and done, we use a silicone stocking to basically keep all the edema in because the gravity takes it all down and it’s just unhealthy for her legs. But then you go to the normal stuff of dressing and brushing teeth.
[00:14:09] And after that is when I transfer her into her wheelchair and that’s when we start prepping her with getting all of her favorite pieces of jewelry, getting her pearl necklaces, her pearl earrings, um, her watch that she wears every day, but I’m not really sure why because she can’t read it, but [Laughs] brushing her hair, just allowing to do all these things that she would’ve done alone, but since she is physically not as capable, doing it for her in a very polite manner and making it a little fun, because I feel like it’s very important that you don’t really make it as a job, but as a personal helper, I guess you could say.
[00:14:55] And after that breakfast she eats the same thing every day. And after breakfast comes the lipstick, which is a very much a necessity for Margaret. She cannot be seen without her lipstick and a little combing of her hair in her mirror, and she does all the, this stuff is all by herself. She, she won’t let me do it because she gets the perfect nine of the lipstick, all that, and the hair, and then she’s set for the day.
[00:15:20] Dannelle: So much of how you care and what makes the difference, Jasmine, is you are attending to her dignity, how just something as simple as some lotion makes a huge difference.
[00:15:40] Jasmine, even the strongest of care partnerships have their challenges. What specific moments have you felt particularly challenged from an emotional or physical standpoint, and how did you work through that?
[00:15:59] Jasmine: I love this question because I truly believe a lot of people don’t understand what it takes to be a caregiver. And not only that, but the emotional and physical tolls of being a caregiver, especially as a woman in their twenties. I have to be able to balance my emotional stability with the stability of Margaret, who I care for, and even like balancing with education and a social life.
[00:16:28] And so, I personally have a big struggle with putting myself last in these situations, because I just have so much love and care for Margaret. And not only with that, but being empathetic to the people that you care for, you take in all the emotions of the person. If Margaret’s uncomfortable, I’m uncomfortable. If Margaret is suffering a heartbreak, whether it’s from mourning a loss, which has recently unfortunately happened, I am right there with her. No one talks about the emotional toll it really takes on you. It can be very draining.
[00:17:06] And a personal struggle I have is I tend to isolate, because I have no other way to really properly engage with my emotions. And it affects many relationships I have in my life too, because I’m not able to explain to people who aren’t caregivers what it’s like to not have the energy to engage with other people, because not only am I taking care of myself, well, doing my best to, but I’m fully taking care of another human being. And it’s definitely like a work in progress, but I wish the one thing that could happen is, with, especially like friends that,
[00:17:51] and especially with my schedule too, I work five and a half days a week, so [Music] my social life is just very much different than the average 20 year old.
[00:17:59] I have responsibility of taking care and putting a human being to bed while others are maybe worrying about going out and partying. And so, and at the end of the day, I just don’t even have energy to hang out with friends and all that. And they, a lot of people can take that in as I don’t wanna be their friend anymore, but it’s truly not that. As a caregiver, the emotional drainage is very real, and there has to be an understanding to some point of what that person is going through, even though it just seems like you’re a caregiver, because at the end of the day, you’re not.
[00:18:38] [Music Ends]
[00:18:40] Dannelle: It’s so hard to navigate friendships that existed before caregiving, because the baseline is different of expectations, of where your energy is going. We so often isolate because it just takes less energy, frankly.
[00:19:02] Jasmine: To all the other caregivers, you do have to have that source of communication to express this to your loved ones because it can be selfish. But, what I realized is you have to be selfish sometimes.
[00:19:14] Dannelle: Self-full. I like self-full.
[00:19:17] Jasmine: I do, you know what? I prefer that too, because it’s not that I’m doing it in a negative manner and I wanna do it to hurt others, it’s for my own mental being. It’s because at the end of the day, I exert, and the thing was, as a caregiver, you’re naturally, most likely, a nurturer at heart.
[00:19:37] So, along with caring for these people that you’re close, well, on a professional level, like Margaret, the people that you surround yourself, whether it’s family, friends, you’re also taking care of them in a bunch of different aspects you didn’t know you were doing knowingly, exerting all your emotional efforts to everyone else and forgetting about yourself, and you just feel like there’s never enough time in the day to really take care of yourself.
[00:20:04] Dannelle: Yes, that is so true. And being self-full is a responsibility that we have to ourselves to give ourselves what we need, especially when we have friends and family that, not because of any lack of desire or love, but lack of personal experience, are unable to give, and communication so that what they can give to us, that we’re equipping them to give to us as needed for support.
[00:20:53] Jasmine: I completely agree with that.
[00:20:55] Dannelle: What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned in your work as a caregiver, Jasmine?
[00:21:02] Jasmine: Patience, self-stability, and being able to understand others in a more interpersonal way. I, I truly wouldn’t be the person I am today without Margaret, because not only did she provide that perspective with me, but she provided that perspective with me to view everyone and everything differently. Like truly, at the end of the day, we’re all human beings and we’re all going through our struggles, and you kind of just gotta be patient with everyone around you, along with yourself.
[00:21:39] I would also say, if you are a young caregiver, the maturity you gain through it too, because when you’re conversating with these elderly people, it does make the way you communicate with people very different. Like, I’ve learned that I’m able to articulate my words in a more proper manner. I can connect with them on that level.
[00:21:59] Dannelle: Those are all beautiful, beautiful lessons, and you’re right, we do gain so much, and I think that it is so special that you recognize those things.
[00:22:11] Jasmine: I owe all of it to Margaret. When you have someone of a hundred years of experience pushing it on you, you’re only bound to gain new knowledge and wisdom, and new view of the world.
[00:22:25] Dannelle: Yes! So fabulous.
[00:22:27] Jasmine: Mm-hmm
[00:22:29] Dannelle: Jasmine, thank you so much for joining me today on The Caregiving Soul. It has been so lovely speaking with you.
[00:22:36] Jasmine: Thank you so much, Dannelle. I’ve had such a wonderful time talking to you, and it was really eye opening on my side of things too, to really talk about it because you, it’s not really talked about, especially on my behalf.
[00:22:51] Dannelle: Thank you so much, sweetie. Thank you so much.
[00:22:54] Jasmine: Thank you.
[00:22:58] Dannelle: Thank you for joining our conversation with Jasmine Ereaux.
[00:23:03] Jasmine is a great example of the perspective we gain when caring for an older person. While she and Margaret span an 80-year age gap, it’s interesting how she recognized so many similarities between Margaret’s life experiences and her own. What also struck me about Jasmine was how she instinctually cares for Margaret’s dignity. She focuses not only on her physical healthcare needs, but also on her beauty regimens and personal interests. Jasmine shows us the distinction between caring and administering care.
[00:23:51] Check out our show notes to connect with and follow Jasmine.
[00:23:56] Every episode of The Caregiving Soul has a page on empoweredus.org where you can find the extended show notes, including tips and takeaways, transcripts, and relevant resource links.
[00:24:09] The Caregiving Soul is an Empowered Us original, presented by Good Days, hosted by me, Dannelle LeBlanc.
[00:24:18] If you liked this episode, be sure to rate and subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts.
[00:24:26] And remember, the right care includes care for you.
[00:24:34] [Music Ends]
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