Hi! My name is Chera. I live in Long Beach and I've been a caregiver for five years.
How did you get into caregiving?
I became a caregiver because my grandmother was sick and, unfortunately, she passed away in a facility, and I was extremely heartbroken and I felt that the staff didn't do enough to take care of my grandmother. And I wanted to personally make sure that nothing like that ever happened to someone else's grandmother, sister, uncle, brother, mother, to any relative at all. And I actually started volunteering at a Alzheimer's and dementia facility when I was 15. And then when I was 18, I was hired on. And then from there I just continued working at different agencies and whatnot, and I generally fell in love with being able to provide care and happiness for people. Whether they are elderly, whether they have some sort of medical issue, whether they have some sort of mental issue, I just enjoy helping people in general.
What advice would you provide to a new caregiver?
My advice to a new caregiver would be, to really learn your patient or your client. A lot of people forget that the people they're taking care of are actually people. They need to have patience with them. They need to be caring, openmindedness is very important when being a caregiver, because you're going to be working with different cultures, different personalities. If you're working with someone with Alzheimer's or dementia, you're going to have to get accustomed to certain things. So in general, I would say there's the basic skills that you should have as in kindness, patient, caring, things like that. But in reality, you should really, really always get to know your client.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
A client that I will never forget was Elizabeth and I mean, I will never forget her. Whenever this question gets asked, that is the first person that pops up to my mind. She was the sweetest woman I've ever met. She was about 98 years old. She was so generous and nice. She was a very wealthy woman but she was just very humble and I think that's what I adored the most about her.
The first thing that pops into my mind when I think about her, flowers, because we used to garden outside a lot. I would take her to different flower conventions and society meetings and things like that. And she taught me a lot as well. For me to be the one that was supposed to be taking care of her and making sure that she was okay, I really do think that she definitely made a very big impact in my caregiving career.