Hi my name is Ellie. I live in Petaluma, CA and I've been doing caregiving for a minimum of 10 years.
How did you get into caregiving?
I became a caregiver because my great aunt lived with us all her life in a wheelchair and I was inspired by her and helping her. But I did other things in life and I then ended up becoming a caregiver again for loved ones. I was inspired by some caregivers I had help me in the homes with family members and just their patience and compassion.
What advice would you provide to a new caregiver?
My advice to a new caregiver would be to listen, to sit down with a new patient or client and really listen to them with patience and compassion to find out everything you can afterwards about their condition. Like of they have Parkinson's, you need to go a little bit extra and find out-- you know, go home and do a little research on Parkinson's and what you can do to help. Just remember they're not their diagnosis so that even though someone has Alzheimer's, or Parkinson's, there's still a person there and they can actually be a good experience.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
A client I will never forget is Bill who had such a passion for life and for people. We would go somewhere - and he was very elderly - but we went to AAA once, just get a brochure, and there was a young girl behind the counter that remembered him from when he used to teach at the rec center when she was a little girl of about six, and she started crying. It was just such an experience for her to see him again. He affected people that way and that affected me and I thought, "How wonderful to have that in your life, that people, when they saw you, just put their hands to their mouth and started crying." I know it sounds strange that she started crying, but she was happy. So I think Bill, always seeing something positive in people.