Hi, my name is Melissa. I live in Los Angeles, CA. I've been a caregiving CNA for 14 years.
How did you get into caregiving?
I became a caregiver because I love taking care of the elderly. I have family members I had to take care of and it inspired me to go out and help with other people's loved ones. That's why I've become a caregiver.
What advice would you provide to a new caregiver?
My advice to a new caregiver is: show love, compassion and respect to who you're taking care of. Let them be independent as much as they can be independent, don't take that away from them, love them as they're your own family because they are someone else's family and that family is trusting you to take care of their loved one. Just love them, respect them and give them their independence because I ran into people where some tell me that caregivers come in and just take all their independence away and they want to be independent and loved. That's what I would tell them: respect, love and treat them good.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
I'll never forget my client, Bonnie. When I would go in to take care of her, she'd say, "Hi, how are you? Sit down here. I want to tell you this great story." Bonnie was a storyteller. Whether it was the truth or whether it was something that she just thought was the truth because she had dementia but she had great stories. We'd sit there and we laughed and told good stories. She was the best storyteller I ever come in contact with, we were connected right away, we had fun and we enjoyed each other. We laughed about stories that she would tell me and make up and sometimes I believed the stories because it was so awesome. Her story was the best. I never ran into nobody like Bonnie. I love her and I miss her. There will never be a Bonnie like her, a great storyteller.