Hi. My name is Danielle. I live in Fresno, CA and I've been a caregiver for over 16 years.
How did you get into caregiving?
I became a caregiver because when my niece was born, it was a medical mistake and she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and she is 13 now and she is unable to walk, unable to sit up, unable to speak for herself. So that originally interested me and I've always wanted to be a pediatric surgeon since I was five, so just care for people in general, has always been something that I've been interested in and have been rewarding the experience too.
What advice would you provide to a new caregiver?
My advice to a new caregiver would be to love what you're doing. If you love what you're doing then it becomes less of a job and something more natural and can understand that every day is not going to be easy. Every day you are not going to walk in they're going to automatically either know who you are or know what you're there for. So just understand and have a lot of empathy and a lot of patience for this field because dealing with the elderly, at one point these are people that lived a vivacious life and now you have to take care of them. So understand that's something that is new for them so it's a growing process for you and for the individual.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
A client that I will never forget would have to be Kenneth and he was kind of brand new to our facility. He was a 24-hour patient and he was dying of Alzheimer's. He was a Veteran's patient and so one of my funniest -- one of my funniest and challenging memories with him is - because he was a PTSD patient, he was terrified of the dark - one night - he lived in the mountains - one night when we were watching TV and all of the power cut off, and he kind of started panicking, and he was upset, and he was scared. I was very patient and very empathetic, and he forgot why I was there and what I was doing at the house, so he essentially started to attack me and I just kept my calm. I just kept reassuring him, "Hey, you know, Ken, I'm here for you. I'm here for you and you're going to be fine. We're going to get the power back on." And I think in that moment it just kind of dawned on him like, "Okay, I may not understand who she is or why she's here but she is here for me." And just for me, that was a challenging and rewarding experience because it's-- I think in that specific moment anybody would have lost it. I mean anybody would have took a different route, but I just chose to stay patient and stay calm and understand that he doesn't know what's going on, and I'm not going to be upset at him for not knowing that I'm not going to be upset at him for attacking me. Because tomorrow he's not going to remember any of this. He's not going to remember what happened or why it happened. So in that instance, just stay calm and the more you stay calm the more they can start to calm down, and the more they can start to just relax. So that had to have been my most rewarding, funny, and challenging, memorable moment of my career.