Can you tell me a little about yourself and how you got into caregiving?
Hi. My name is Jessica. I'm from Livermore, and I have five years experience, and I'm going to school to become an RN. So the person who inspired me to become a caregiver was my grandfather who had muscular dystrophy, and I took care of him since I was 15. So that's what got me into caregiving. So it was kind of a natural thing.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
A client I'll never forget is one I've had for two years now, and she has dementia. And when I first started working with her, I wasn't really too familiar with dementia. So I would work on a Monday with her, and the next time I was going to be with her was on a Wednesday. And I've learned over time how to handle situations, so on that Monday when I'm leaving, I would say, "Okay, I'll see you on Wednesday." And I wouldn't be able to leave for like 15 minutes because she would just ask questions and just worry and worry and worry because for dementia clients, all it is is emotions, and Wednesday's so far away for them. And so I've learned over time-- I now say, "I'll be back as soon as I can. I know you'll miss me. I'll miss you too." And so I just handle situations so much differently now, and I've learned so much more about dementia. And I love teaching people about it, on how to handle situations better.
Please tell us about your most challenging client.
The most challenging client I've had was one that was very combative towards me and his wife, and I learned over time on how to handle those situations with redirecting him with certain things he liked. So he would love to read the newspaper, so I would always give him a newspaper when I saw that he was getting aggravated at something, or we would go on a walk. So that would calm him down, and that really showed me how to handle situations better.
What piece of advice would you give to a new caregiver?
What is your proudest moment as a caregiver?
One piece of advice I would give a caregiver who is just starting out is to have a lot of patience and to make their client feel as comfortable as possible and as safe as possible because someone with dementia or any other illness, that's what they want to feel. They want to feel safe and protected, and sometimes they just don't know what's going on.
My proudest moment of being a caregiver is making my client smile and giving the satisfaction to their family that they're taken care of when I'm with them.