Hi, my name is Andrea, I live in Oakland and I have been a caregiver for 5 years.
Why did you become a caregiver?
I feel like it's really important to support people, and I've also been in social services for
several years. It's just something that I have come to do naturally.
Who was one of your most memorable clients?
I worked with a client who had frontal lobe damage, and this client, his memory wasn't that great. So we did several things to help him remember-- where he always was supposed to put his keys, to keep his keys around his neck, to remember to take his vitamins, and really were able to work together and find techniques that were fitted and tailored for him.
Each client is an individual and has a different set of needs, a different set of obstacles, and there's no cookie cutter answer for each client. And with working with him, we eventually worked out a system that he was able to have it down pat if he lost his keys, where a spare was at. He was able to keep track of his wallet. He just had safety precautions set up and he knew what they were. And we did different color coding. We just made things more simplified for him, and it worked in a way that he could live a very independent and yet very fulfilled, proactive life. And it just brought me a lot of joy to see that.
What piece of advice would you provide to a new caregiver?
To pay close attention to your client's needs, also to be a good listener and also to have compassion.