Hi! My name is Ashley. I live in San Antonio, TX and I've been a caregiver for five years.
How did you get into caregiving?
I became a caregiver because I come from a family of nurses. My mother, herself was an RN. So I guess you could say I grew up around it. Also being really, really close to my grandmother, as she gets older, I take her out on outings and help her with whatever she needs help with. And she's 83 years old. So that was probably the other factor as to why I've been a caregiver and why I love it so much. I love helping people.
What advice would you provide to a new caregiver?
My advice to a new caregiver would be, to take time with your residents or your patients to really get to know them. Don't treat them like they're robots - these are actual people with feelings - and ask them how they're doing. Ask them what they had for breakfast. Ask them what they're doing later. Just don't forget the little things and that you're still dealing with somebody who's struggling, and who hasn't been able to do the things that they were used to doing before. So that would be my advice to them. Second to that would be, always be an advocate for your patients or residents. Some of them might not be able to speak for themselves, so you have to look out for them. You have to be their eyes and their ears, and sometimes their voice. And, so that would be my advice to a new caregiver.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
A client I will never forget is one who was in an assisted living. This person in particular had severe Alzheimer's, was not oriented to place, time, self. Absolutely nothing. So the caregivers that would go in there, they wouldn't talk to the client. They figured that they weren't able to understand or hear. But I always took my time with this person, and still talked to them as if they did understand. And I remember one day, as I was leaving and I said bye, this client grabbed me by the wrist and said, "You know, people might not think that I don't know what's going on sometimes, but I do. And I appreciate you, Ashley, and I will never forget you." And to me, this really touched me because this client didn't even remember her own name. And so for her to remember my name, that really meant a lot to me. And to me, it was kind of bizarre, too. It was kind of like a light just switched on in her head and she was able to comprehend things. And then after that, she never had another incident like that. But that really stuck out to me. It made me feel like I was making a difference, for somebody to remember something like that, who struggles with Alzheimer's. And so that's something that I will definitely never forget.