Hi, my name is Julie. I live in Long Beach, CA and I have five years experience as a caregiver.
How did you get into caregiving?
I became a caregiver because of my in-laws. They moved out with my spouse and I from New York. Their health was failing at the time and so I cared for them during that time, then took on additional clients as well and my father-in-law eventually-- his health worsened and had to go into an assisted living. I then continued to care for my mother-in-law and then, eventually, my father-in-law passed away this year and my mother-in-law moved back to New York to be with her other children. So they really inspired me when I was caring for them and then when I saw that I had a little time open during the day, I decided to do additional caregiving and I took on other clients to help them.
What advice would you provide to a new caregiver?
My advice to a new caregiver would be to have a lot of patience, to listen and repeat things back to who you are caring for to make sure that they understand that you understand what their needs are, showing them that level of respect and showing them that you have an interest in them. I think just always being compassionate and being professional is very important. Always communicate with whoever you're caring for.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
A client I will never forget, other than caring for my in-laws, is a man that had come out of the hospital after a heart attack and was also being put on dialysis, who's not doing well at all. So I took him to dialysis, helped his life with things around the house and just really became close to them. The exciting part of it is that he eventually stopped dialysis, he was able to get around much better, he was not using his oxygen as much, so just to see this person go from being very frail and fragile to being so much stronger was one of the best experiences that I've had. It made me very proud for him and to be proud of that process.