Hi. My name is Kel. I live in Rio Nido, CA and I have been a caregiver for 5 years.
How did you get into caregiving?
I became a caregiver because of my mom. I grew up around the health world, and my mom started her own business when I was 15. A home health care agency, so I would help her in the office, and then when I was 18 my mom thought that I would be able to handle some cases that came in. And I worked with some people that were paraplegic, and another person who had cancer at an early age. So I would say it would be my mom that inspired me to become a caregiver.
What advice would you provide to a new caregiver?
My advice to a new caregiver would be to make sure that you always get permission from a patient or a resident before you do something. And out of respect, you also let the person know what you're going to be doing before you start whatever action that is. Because I see a lot of people - even including myself at times - when if you've been at a case that's long-term or a job, after time, things become autopilot, and we get in the habit of doing things a certain way. So it's good to always go at a job or a case, as I said, it's a new day. And of course, going in with what you know about that patient. And of course, I would say the more compassion and empathy you have, the better and easier - in a sense - your job will be because it can be very draining emotionally and mentally being a caregiver.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
A client I will never forget is Betty. She is someone that has been burned in my heart and my memories, and I worked with her for five years. And the thing about Betty is she always has a smile on her face, and it didn't matter what was going on in her personal world. She was about 95% of the time friendly, and happy, and very hospitable. She will always wanted to make sure that people were well-fed, and nourished, and comfortable in her home. And I took care of her for five years, and I learned a lot out of that. And she's a big part of the reason why I'm doing the work that I do. I was able to help her stay home longer, and live longer, and she gave me some good advice as I was a young 30-year-old man at the time taking care of her. And I think about her every day pretty much. When I'm meeting new clients I'll think of Betty. So Betty has been a big inspiration to me