Can you tell me a little bit about yourself, and how you got into caregiving?
My name is Laite. I live here in San Francisco and I've been a caregiver for eight years. The person who inspired me to become a caregiver is my grandmother. There was nobody at home at the time to look after her. She had so much love in her, in return, I became her caregiver, and somehow, I just enjoyed it. I liked knowing when I went back to my home at the end of the day that my grandmother was in the comfort of her own home, and she enjoyed the day. Just seeing the smile on her face-- I enjoyed that.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
Of all the people I've cared for during my years of caregiving, the first person that comes to mind is Dr. Erskine. He is a well-known doctor in San Francisco. In caring for him what I learned is that he has so much humility. I'm just a non-medical caregiver, but he treats me with respect. It's that relationship, I just like the way he treats caregivers.
What is your proudest moment as a caregiver?
My proudest moment during the course of my working as a caregiver was when I was asked to speak at a memorial service for a woman that I had looked after. I didn't expect it because I didn't see my name on the program. Her grandson walked up to the pulpit and just called out, "If grandma's caregiver, Laite, could please come up, we just want to acknowledge the services you rendered, and for you to say a few words, and say goodbye to grandma." It brought tears to my eyes. That was my proudest moment.
What do you think is the most important aspect of caring for someone with Alzheimer's?
The most important aspect about caring for somebody who has Alzheimer's is to really adapt ourselves to their world. For example, if they want to walk around in a room the whole day, walk with them. If they don't want to eat what you give them, don't give it to them.
What piece of advice would you give to a new caregiver?
My advice to a new caregiver coming into the industry, is to learn and grasp everything that he or she can from experienced caregivers -- from professionals. At the end of day, just be humble and be compassionate about your work.