Hi my name is Brigitte. I live in Torrance, CA. I have worked for 15 years as a caregiver.
How did you get into caregiving?
I became a caregiver because I found out that a lot of our elderly population do need the compassionate care of somebody who is not a member of the family. I started out with one client and was very touched by the experience that I continued to work as a caregiver for now the 15 years that I have been one. I like the relationships that I've developed with family members and I find satisfaction in caring for those who need my help.
What advice would you provide to a new caregiver?
My advice to a new caregiver would be to treat her or his patient as if that patient was your family member. Your mom, your dad, your aunt, or your grandpa. Everybody in your family. That way, you will do whatever you can for them the best way possible and also to not be taking things on a personal level all the time. You have to understand that they are either sick with dementia or any other illness and that they need you and I have to give them compassionate care and focus on their care all the time. Everything else on the job is secondary. Number one important thing is that to deliver compassionate care and think of ourselves second.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
The client I would never forget is Barbara Fisher. I took care of her for more than a year. She was sitting by herself. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and she only had a daughter who is far, far away and who never came to visit. She only came after Barbara died. Barbara respected me and I respected her so much. It was difficult because I had to go through per-surgery chemo. I had to go to surgery with her and had also go through post-chemo with her and despite what she was going through, she was very brave. She told me to go have myself checked, so that I don't end up like her and I did and I owe that to her. The doctors said she will have another five years. But six months after surgery, she passed away and I would always remember that's a very, very nice relationship that I had with her. She's still one patient that I will never and ever forget and will always cherish in my memory.