My name is Jackie. I live in San Pedro California, and I have been a caregiver for approximately 25 years.
How did you get into caregiving?
I became a caregiver, because I volunteered at a nursing home when I was 14 and fell in love with the geriatric population. I love to hear their stories and interact with them and have been working in the field for the majority of my life since then. I love being able to make a difference in someone's house and to provide quality and dignity, and that's about it. It's been a passion of mine since 1974, and I continue to do so today and look forward to doing it the rest of my golden years, as well.
What advice would you provide to a new caregiver?
My advice to a new caregiver would be to always remember that each individual person that you care for is an individual. They are entitled to have their own views, opinions, needs, and wants. They are to be treated with dignity above and beyond anything else. All of their faiths or beliefs are theirs, and they're entitled to have that, and to never personalize things. Sometimes when people are not doing well, whether it's physically, emotional, or cognitively, they don't mean to ask things in certain ways. So never personalize things and to find ways to redirect and to provide comfort and dignity more than anything else. Always respect each person as an individual.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
The client that I will never forget would be Lucy. She lived out in the Barstow Desert, and I had the privilege of working with her before her dementia had set in. She was on a ranch by herself and was quite the pioneer woman. She used the chainsaw, cutting her own wood, up on the roof fixing the air conditioner swamp cooler, always carrying a rifle around with her in case of a sidewinder or a coyote came up by the ranch. Extremely, extremely wonderful sense of humor, very politically involved, and a lot of wisdom. And we would spend a lot of time together sitting by the fireplace in the evening. She would tellme stories about her childhood and her life. We had all these wonderful conversations. As her dementia started setting in, and she was getting Alzheimer's, I thought for sure she would end up being a feisty little gal but she ended up being one of the sweetest, loving women that I'd ever worked with.