Can you tell me a little about yourself and how you got into caregiving?
My name is Arlena, and I live in Oakland. I’ve been taking care of people for 13 years and I’ve been a CAN for 4 years. The person who inspired me to become a caregiver was my grandmother. We had her in a home, she was mistreated, so we brought her home and I’ve been taking care of her since I was 12 years old.
Who is the first client that comes to your mind?
A client I will never forget is named Margot. Every day I would come we would give each other hugs, greet each other, sit and have a conversation, talk to each other about how our night was, go for walks, and I would take her to doctor’s appointments. We became more than just clients; we become more of a family.
What piece of advice would you give to a new caregiver?
Even if it’s a hard day, everything is going bad: don’t give up. Keep a smile on your face, because whatever you show will affect the clients. If you keep a positive attitude, then the clients will prosper and be better.
What is your proudest moment as a caregiver?
My proudest moment as a caregiver was with Margot and somebody asked her “Who helped you?” and she goes, “This woman right here! She helped me with everything, I couldn’t do it without her.” In my mind I was like wow. It just put a big smile on my face that the help I am giving her actually works and it can change somebody’s life.