Hello my name is Daniel. I live in Pasadena, CA. I've been a caregiver for seven years.
How did you get into caregiving?
I became a caregiver because a neighbor asked me if I'd be interested in helping them. I stayed with them for two years and continued my job elsewhere with the next person I cared for, who approached him at the gym and asked me if I was interested in helping him and I met that person and said yes and I stayed with him for over two years, one-on-one and I was also personally referred to a family friend who was in need of a caregiver because it was too difficult for his wife to take care of him. I said yes, and I've been with my client for over two years now. I've also become certified by the American Red Cross to better myself in this career and I've been practicing my skills with this client now for six months. I've been certified as a CNA by American Red Cross for six months now.
What advice would you provide to a new caregiver?
My advice to a new caregiver would be to build a relationship with their client and their family, to become like family to that person if it's possible and they're one-on-one or if they're in a group setting and helping lots of people, to be very mindful of getting the client up and keeping them out of their chair and getting them into different positions every two hours or more and to keep them from developing bedsores. It's a common thing that happens when people are sick and in bed or in a wheelchair for too long. It's one of the things to be most mindful of for me, dealing with older patients. So it becomes a habit and it's a good one to practice and maintaining a person's health that way is very important to always be mindful, if you're staying with someone, to keep them up and change their position.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
A client I will never forget is Ernesto. He's an Alzheimer's patient and making him smile and having him tell me that he's my friend or that I'm his friend - pointing to me and saying that I'm his friend - was a very meaningful experience and it's because of building a good relationship with patients, gentleness, caring, and loving. He was also a very difficult and non-compliant resident in the facility and it's very memorable to me because watching him change and become very kind and accepting of the care he was receiving from me, getting him to walk when he'd not agreed to walk, and helping him change when it was combative for him to start.