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Nicholas McDonald, 24, lives in Capitol Heights, Md., with his mother, Natasha Shamone-Gilmore, stepfather, Curtis Gilmore, and grandfather Franklin Brunson. (NPR)

Caring For Grandparent Matures A Young Man

May 15, 2012 (Morning Edition)

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Nicholas visits Natasha at the office where she works as an industrial trainer. After witnessing the family struggle financially, Nicholas is looking for a good-paying job to help contribute. Natasha moved her father, Franklin, 81, into the family home after he developed dementia. "The hardest part is the memory loss," says Nicholas of his grandfather's condition. Natasha embraces her husband, Curtis, after Sunday worship at The Sanctuary Baptist church. "I love Curtis," Nicholas says. "He keeps a roof over our heads and keeps us laughing." Nicholas has briefly abandoned his musical aspirations to enter the workforce and contribute to the family's finances. "I'd like to give my mom $100 every now and then," he says. Maryland resident Nicholas McDonald, 24, has briefly abandoned his musical aspirations to enter the workforce and contribute to the family's finances. "I'd like to give my mom $100 every now and then," he says.

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Nicholas McDonald grew up tempted by drugs and under pressure to hit the streets. Lacking male role models, the Maryland resident says he always saw his mom as "the apple of my eye."

Natasha Shamone-Gilmore tried to protect her son growing up. Now, 24-year-old Nicholas is doing his best to return the favor.

Nicholas' family is one of three Morning Edition is profiling in our series Family Matters: The Money Squeeze. Like so many 20-somethings, he is taking some extra time — at home — to chart his journey.

"I can't do whatever I want to do," he says. "My heart is in so many different places. I can't pick up and go."

His grandfather, suffering from dementia, lives with the family — three generations under one roof. For Nicholas, it's been an opportunity to help his mom, get to know his grandfather and find himself.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Part of the Family Matters series

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