Hi, I'm Holly and I live in Long Beach, CA. I've been a caregiver for over seven years.
How did you get into caregiving?
I became a caregiver because I had an interest in the field of special education, and I started out working with adults with disabilities. I worked in homes that took care of adults with syndrome. At one point in my life, I had my great aunt living with us. She had Alzheimer's and lived to be 95. I took a lot of time to take care of her, and it inspired me to continue in this line of work. I've also worked in the medical field and I found that I get fulfillment from helping other people and making other people live easier.
What advice would you provide to a new caregiver?
My advice to a new caregiver would be to focus on the individual, and the unique needs that they have. Not every person is the same, and each person has different interests, different needs, different feelings, different emotions, and it's very important to be aware of those and pay close attention so that you're making them feel like they matter, and they're important, and that you're really there to listen and to help and to support them and help them live the most fulfilling life that they can.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
A client that I'll never forget is Alice. She had Alzheimer's, and every day with her was a new adventure. There would be some days that she would wake up, and she would think she was making a cake, and it would end up we'd find all sorts of ingredients in the washing machine with a comb in it and other days where she'd be speaking only Japanese because she thought she was back in her days of living in Japan. Or, she would wake up and be a professor again at the College of Pomona. We'd have to play along to appreciate the wonderful life that she lived and let her express herself and help her get back to what time it is now, but also not alarm her in the fact that she was waking up in a different world not remembering everything that was going on with her recent memories. Often times she would just go back to when she was a kid and forget where she was and what she was doing, but I'll never forget the joy that would come from her remembering those things and remembering to appreciate those things. She's passed away since, but sometimes it was a trial to have to see her go through that, but there was never anything I regretted is working with her, and so I'll always remember her.