Hi! My name is Derell. I've been a caregiver for five years, and I live in the city of Joshua Tree, CA.
How did you get into caregiving?
I became a caregiver because I love helping people. It first started off with a private client, a little girl who was about three who needed taking care of. She had asthma, so I had to make sure that her asthma didn't flare up. She loved running around, but I had to limit her running, due to her asthma. Had to make sure that she was taken care of, help with her homework, take her to school, pick her back up, make sure that she didn't eat any peanut butter because she's allergic to it, and always kept the Epipen around. We put her on her breathing machine to help her out when her inhaler didn't work. Then after about five years, she didn't need to have me take care of her, due to work-related situation. Then I started taking care of my grandma, who was diagnosed with stomach cancer.
What advice would you provide to a new caregiver?
My advice to a new caregiver would be to make sure you have patience to understand that whoever you are taking care of, at one point, they didn't need a caregiver. So you have to give them the opportunity to be able to be independent, as well as take care of them at the same time. Understand their needs. Make sure that they're not stressed. Don't let them struggle to get anything. Always be around. Don't leave them in the room alone because they need somebody there.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
A client I will never forget is my grandmother, being that we were very close, and seeing her being able to walk and drive, and talk to us, and play around with us, and show me how to cook, and everything until she got diagnosed with stomach cancer, her in and out the hospital almost every week, seeing her body deteriorate, that she couldn't walk any longer on her own, that she needed to get help off the bed, sitting there in the chair or in bed not wanting to eat, just not being able to move, to being bed-ridden, it's something that I could never forget, just seeing that whole process transpire with her being diagnosed with stomach cancer.