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Caregiving strengthens mother-son bond

Perri Kendrick and her son Trevor have an unbreakable bond. They do almost everything together: ice skating with Perri pushing Trevor’s wheelchair on skates, watching TV while Perri exercises on her stationary bike, or hosting friends at their home like they do several times a week. They are truly an inseparable duo. Not only is Perri his mother, but she is also Trevor’s full-time caregiver. 

As Trevor’s In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) provider, Perri recently completed CCA’s caregiver training program to help make herself “the best caregiver [she] could possibly be.” Just like they do almost everything else together, Perri and Trevor both learned and grew as a team during the 10-week training. 

Throughout the course, Perri said she learned essential caregiving tips that she originally overlooked due to the fact that she is caring for her own son, such as documentation, the use of gloves, and the proper way to wash hands. Trevor learned along with her. “He has learned that we are a team that has to work together because if we’re not going to keep each other healthy, then nobody else is,” Perri said

“Really, in my heart to know Trevor is to love Trevor,” Perri said

Photo by Kim Fox

Love is at the forefront of both Perri’s roles in Trevor’s life – as his caregiver and as his mother. “I think everything about taking care of Trevor is exhausting, but it’s so rewarding,” she said. “I absolutely love taking care of him.”

Trevor was born with Cerebral Palsy (CP) and was diagnosed when he was one year old. Since then, he has defied so many odds. “Doctors said that he wouldn’t live through the night, and then doctors said he wouldn’t live past 14,” Perri said. Trevor is now 38 years old, outliving his prognosis by 24 years. 

Trevor’s prognosis is not the only challenge that he and Perri had to overcome in his 38 years. As a direct result of his CP, Trevor is also non-verbal, Perri explained. Yet, that does not stop him from interacting with others and making new friends wherever he goes. He uses a communication device that is activated by auditory scans to produce phrases such as “Hey, how’s it going?” or “Hi, I’m Trevor, nice to meet you.”

Trevor uses this device to connect with others – something he truly enjoys. Perri said Trevor makes friends with anyone – from the waiters at restaurants, to community members at the grocery store and even with the local firefighters who attend his birthday parties every year.

When Perri began her caregiver training course, it was no surprise that when Trevor attended alongside her, he interacted with the other caregivers. “He went to every Saturday class and he was as excited about the classes as I was,” she said. “He had so much fun.” 

Perri shared that the course improved her life by teaching both her and Trevor to be more patient with one another. “I have learned this wasn’t his choice to have to be cared for and (now) I always try to put myself in his position. I think that just makes me do everything with more love,” she said. 

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