Hello, my name is Aleta. I live in Sacramento, CA, and I have been a caregiver for about 18 years.
How did you get into caregiving?
I became a caregiver because at the young age of 15 or 16, my great grandmother had cancer of the cervix and me and my grandmother took turns on taking care of her at home and I saw the joy it gave her to have someone at home, and to be able to stay in her home. To take care of her personally, it made me feel so good because as I got older in life, I truly feel that one day, all of us are going to need someone to care for us all. So I do it because I'm looking for my rewards and my blessings when it becomes my turn to have someone take care of me. I just believe giving care at home is more rewarding than working in a nursing home, which I had for many years, and I had many clients and it was impossible to give the kind of care I needed to each and every one of them, because there was just not enough time.
What advice would you provide to a new caregiver?
The advice I would give new caregivers is to take out time and get to learn who your client is. Find out what type of work they did find out what they like to do, what places they like to go. Find out their favorite foods. Take time to sit down and talk to family members. Let them know your concerns about your clients. Some rewarding things is talking to family members and sitting down, having long talks with your client, and finding out some of the things that they like to do. Companionship is one of the biggest things you can give your client. Sometimes their family members don't have time to just sit and talk with them. A lot of times they just want to sit and talk and share with you some of their experiences in life. I have learned a lot over the years, and a new caregiver can learn a lot from their clients because they've lived longer, and they've had some experiences that we have yet to come across. So, my best advice to a new caregiver is to listen to your client and truly, truly get to know them.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
A client I will never forget is a little lady I took care of-- actually all my clients, I'll never forget them because most of them I stay with for years. But the lady I'm taking care of now, I take care of her in the morning, I will never, ever forget her because she taught me so much about art. She was able to get out and get around when I first started working for her. So she loved art exhibits, and she loved to go to second-hand stores and picking out little trinkets and stuff like that. So, she taught me so much. I had never, ever been to the Crocker Museum until I met this woman. It opened up a whole new world for me, and I would never, ever forget how she opened up this new world to me.