It has been three years since I attended SALT and the impact today is felt as much as it was back then. To say this program was life changing, would be an understatement. The time I spent with the residents, the Sisters, and my fellow volunteers has shaped me into the person I am today.
Not long after returning home from SALT, my grandmother was diagnosed with dementia. My mom and I became her full time caregivers. The information I learned at SALT about dementia and how to relate to those with this horrible disease immediately came into play. Daily, I relay upon the things that Sr. Mary taught me and my time spent with the residents on the memory care floor. While there are good days and bad days with my grandmother, I know that because of my experience with SALT that I can handle just about anything that comes my way.
Also, when I returned home from SALT, I dove back into my genealogy work... but something was different. While I still think it's important to learn about our ancestors from years and years ago, I know that it's just as important to learn about the here and now. Our parents and grandparents are full of stories that need to be recorded and passed down. Not only that, but we are living in a time that someday our children's children are going to want to know. Genealogy and family history is all around us!
I am so grateful for the time I spent with SALT. I encourage anyone and everyone to apply and spend a week with the elderly. It without a doubt changes your perspective on things and just makes you more aware of the stories we all carry around with us.
Amanda is a SALT alumna who joined us in Ireland the summer of 2017. She has a passion for genealogy, so the memory books which we create for the residents were right up her alley. Read more about Amanda's experience on her blog https://coolgirlgenealogy.com/2017/08/06/when-irish-eyes-are-smiling/.