Hi, my name is Maria. I live in Peoria, AZ and I've been a caregiver for ten years.
How did you get into caregiving?
I became a caregiver because I wanted a change in careers. I was a grocery store clerk for 21 years. I was a realtor for about five years, but I needed something more fulfilling where I felt I was making a difference in people's lives. Taking care of seniors taught me a lot about life about actually giving your time, but actually being very satisfied with a job well done. I hope to continue doing this for many more years. I had very good experiences taking care of people both in the large nursing skilled facility, and recently the last five years as an in home caregiver. I enjoy it quite a bit. I enjoy talking to seniors and learning about the past, and it is very rewarding for me.
What advice would you provide to a new caregiver?
My advice to a new caregiver would be, be very patient. Remember to respect the people you are working for. It's a very personal job. Most people have a certain way of doing things and a lot of people move slowly now at their age. They're very delicate to skin. There's so many things that hurt, and so many things that need to be learned as you go along. Being happy every day and being on time to your job, being very alert and sensitive to people you're taking care of will really help you in the long run. Learn as much as you can about senior care, about illnesses, about mental status, and you will find this job to be very rewarding. Seniors have so much to share, and sharing your experiences with them is also very helpful to the senior community because sometimes they do live through us.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
A client I will never forget is John. John was a very accomplished man in Arizona. He was incredibly smart, incredibly witty, but he was very humble and very considerate. John developed Alzheimer's and dementia in his later stages of life and could not remember anything in the present. Very simple and basic things were hard for him to do, but if you would ask him anything about his past, he could recall everything from his childhood on. I loved John. John was so funny and quick to give me answers, witty answers, whenever I had a question, and he would make me laugh constantly. John loved Mexican food and cream of wheat and pancakes and bacon in the morning. He would have the same thing for six, seven months in a row, and then he would change and go to the next thing and have the same thing all over again. John is a person that I will never forget, and he taught me a lot about seniors, and also about being humble and being a giving person and giving to your community. John, I will never forget you.