Hi my name is Jessica Guerrera. I live in Los Angeles, CA. I've been a caregiver for about six years.
How did you get into caregiving?
I became a caregiver in 2011 because I was caring for a sick family member. From there, I loved the business and branched off into working for assisted livings and home cares. That's where most of my experience is.
What advice would you provide to a new caregiver?
My advice to a new caregiver would be: be patient and be creative. Caregiving requires a lot of patience. You do get a lot different personalities that require you to sometimes step back and breathe a little bit, or sometimes just be creative in your approach to caring for somebody. You don't always get difficult personalities, but either way you've got to find a way to be creative, to get somebody to be willing to let you care for them, because people aren't always willing.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
A client I'll never forget is Mary. She was the very first patient that was given to me when I started my job at a new assisted living. In fact, she was given to me because a lot of the caregivers didn't like caring for her, particularly for the reason that she took a long time to care for. One thing that she had shared with me was that she did struggle with ADD since she was little. She was a veteran nurse. She shared a lot of things with me, but that was what she did for a long time. She was a nurse in the Army, in the United States Army, for many years. I guess later on down the road she did develop dementia, and she had attention disorder, so a lot of caregivers had a hard time caring for her because she took a long time. She was very detailed with her showers. She wanted every inch of her body washed, even in between her toes, and the way you washed her had to be very particular. She did tend to criticize you as a caregiver a lot. I think what makes her so memorable is that she told me one time I was the only caregiver who really paid attention to her. A lot of caregivers walked into the room and wanted to care for her the way they wanted to care for her, and the way they wanted to care for her would be sort of in and out, as quick and at their own pace. But what Mary required was somebody that was willing to care for her the way she wanted to be cared for. So no matter how long it took me I would adjust my time or coordinate my time, knowing that when I go into her room she was going to take a while. But I did what I had to to spend a little extra time with her and care for her the way she wanted.