Hi, my name is Anita. I live in Elk Grove, CA and I've been a caregiver for 10 years.
How did you get into caregiving?
I became a caregiver because I tend to relate to the elderly and children very well. I don't treat my job as a caregiver like a job, but I treat it from the heart. I love to work with them, and they love me. And it doesn't come to me as a job, it comes to me as I'm with a family. I treat them like I want to be treated and everything becomes easy - easier to deal with them. And I work around them with what they have, and there are certain ways. And I think with love and care, you can work around anybody and get through to the toughest clients. That's why I stayed in this industry as a caregiver, because I do not have to force myself to work as a caregiver but it comes naturally.
What advice would you provide to a new caregiver?
My advice to a new caregiver would be try to know your client as much as possible. That's what I do when I start working with a new client; I try to know what their interests and hobbies are, what food they like, what kind of flavors they like, what their lifestyle has been like. And it's always nice to sit and talk with them because they love companionship too. I do not treat them like objects. I do not just attend to them whenever they need to be attended to and go and sit away from them, I do not do that. I love to be around them so that they're aware that there is company in the house. And I tend to make everything fun and loving.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
A client that I will never forget is Ganine. I worked with her as a 24 7 live-in caregiver for 2 years. She was only 58 when I started with her, and she passed away when she was 60. It's very, very tough. An ex-state worker. She gave me a very tough time, but I stayed true to myself and of who I was. I tried and did my best, and there was a time when I talked to her and told her, "I may not be able to continue working here because of stress." And that's when she broke down and she held my hand, and she asked me to stay because she could entrust me with her house, her car and she could trust me doing her banking and everything because I was doing it to the best of my ability. And she knew that I was an honest person. She did not want to lose me, and I was doing all that I could do for her. She didn't really have a life or any friends that I could see visit her in my two years of living with her. Also of her family, nobody was ever around - not a soul. But I stayed with her and I treated her very well, and she started to open up to me and she started changing, and she started having true meaning to life, and she changed a lot and her daughters were very shocked that I could get through to her.