Hi, my name is Kathleen. I live in Vista, CA and I have been a caregiver for 10 years.
How did you get into caregiving?
I became a caregiver because of a family situation that led me in this direction. I have an adult child with a brain injury. He is now living independently and I have the time available to share my experience with other families. I also have aging parents who-- my sister, my brother, and I share responsibility for them. We take care of them at four-month intervals and they will now be living with my brother in Texas full time as he has retired, so this opens the door for me to share these experiences I've had. I am also a student, I take classes online, so it is to my preference of when I want to go online to take my course and it's very flexible. I think that going forward in caring or continuing to care for other people, family members hopefully in their family home environment will be the best alternative for them and for me and I think that it just comes natural to me.
What advice would you provide to a new caregiver?
Advice I would give to a new caregiver would be two items. One, when you're dealing with the aging population, when it comes to memory and memory recall, I would never try to correct them or say no, this isn't how it was. Instead, act as if it was the first time they'd heard this information or that you'd heard this information. Otherwise, when you force them into trying to recall something, it causes them a higher level of frustration and secondly, in any kind of a situation where medical services are being provided, it's important to stay in your own lane. Never try to do something that you are not trained to do. If you need assistance, ask for it. Call for backup. Call your support team.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
One of the most memorable moments is associated with laughter. Bringing up memories through the computer with music from time passed. This particular woman was Japanese and she used to sing and so I pulled up Japanese folk music and famous singers and there happens to be a few that the country is very proud of, watching her sing and remember then pretending along with her that I knew the words and laughing, that feeling of laughter between both of us. I don't do medical assistance type of things. I do time spent, meal time, walk, grocery shopping, errands - that sort of thing and so for me, I get fun time. It's not medical assistance type of things.