Hello, my name is Christopher. I live in San Francisco, CA and I've been a caregiver for six years.
How did you get into caregiving?
I became a caregiver because I love older people. I find myself to be a very compassionate, empathetic person. And I just want to help people. I want to help older people get what they need done, help them with their everyday tasks that-- they all used to be young. I just had this conversation with a client and she says it's frustrating because she can't do the things she used to. And I said, "Well, that's why I'm here. To help you." I got into caregiving because my mother's a nurse, and it started as volunteering while I was in high school. And it turned into a part-time position, full-time position, and then I became certified caregiver and started working in the homes.
What advice would you provide to a new caregiver?
My advice to a new caregiver would be, have patience. Because if it was up to the client, the wouldn't want to be in that position. For some of them, it's kind of humiliating to have someone change you, bath you, do things that you used to be able to do on your own. So it should be a humbling experience that you're able to come into someone's space, and there's a trust established between the both of you. And just take your time, be patient. There's not rush. You're there to do a job, you're there for them you're there to make their quality of life good, comfortable. You're there to make them comfortable, okay? Treat people as you want to be treated. And I always mean yes, there are some times that are truly frustrating, but you don't lose your cool ever. You just take a deep breath. If you have to walk out of the room, you walk out of the room. And just remember that you will also be at this stage. You cannot escape age, getting older. We all will come to this point in life. So think of it as someone is taking care of you and what you would want from your care giver in your own home. We're just there to make them comfortable, and we're there to provide the best care possible.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
The client I will never forget is this gentleman who used to be Army General, leader of his platoon. I'll just never forget him because I worked overnight in a residential facility. It was a 10-bed home. When I would get there to do my nightly rounds, my checks on everyone and everyone would be asleep when I would come in. I would start making desert, doing whatever, cleaning, and halfway through the shift, I would hear the walker in the hallway echoing. And I knew it was him coming to check on me. Yes. He would come check on me. He'd take forever to come around with the walker and I would eventually go up to go meet him. He was like, "There you are. I've been looking for you all day." He had a slight case of dementia. And he's like, "There you are. I've been looking for you all day. Where have you been? Where have you been hiding?" And it just became this sort of meeting every other night that I looked forward to. And I only worked four days, so I would only see him twice. And so, he would look for me the entire week, which I think is sad. And I would tell him, "You know, I leave but I come back every night." And he would just ask me to make him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I think it's just-- he was staying because he was looking for me to ask me how my day was and if everything was alright. But he was checking up on me as though he was taking care of me. And yeah, I'll never forget him. I just found him such a pleasure to work with.