MPW.68 / 2016 Nurturing the Young and Protecting the Old by Minying Kong
Photographer
Minying Kong Guangzhou, China
Team Chapnick

Story Summary

April Pinnell, 35, is the mother of two young sons Blake, 7, and David, 10. She decided to quit her job at the local bank two years ago to take care of her grandparents. The fear of her grandparents being sent to a nursing home and possibly being mistreated there scared Pinnell. To avoid that, she got a job as a caregiver for the company Pyramid Home Health, and applied to work with her grandmother. Pinnell now gets paid to assist her grandmother and can also help her grandfather at the same time.

Her grandmother, Melba, 77, has vision disabilities (retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration) after already surviving breast cancer. Although she is able to care for herself despite her vision problems, she needs to remain at home where everything is familiar to her. Pinnell’s grandfather, Kenneth, 75, has a combination of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease. He is also a cancer survivor. The two require multiple daily medications and need constant monitoring.

Everyday, Pinnell travels from her home to her children’s schools, then to her grandparents’ home. Despite juggling the demands of motherhood and caregiving, Pinnell is a happy person and considers herself lucky to be able to spend time with her family.