Hi, my name is Micaela. I live Petaluma, CA and I have a little over 1 year of experience caregiving.
How did you get into caregiving?
I became a caregiver because I was entering the healthcare field in college and I came across a job opening with a home healthcare agency and I worked there for a year and I always knew that I had a passion for caring for others, but I realized that I have an even bigger passion for caring for the elderly. When I had to relocate - I hated leaving my job, but when I relocated to Petaluma, California, I started working for a nursing home in Santa Rosa.
What advice would you provide to a new caregiver?
My advice to a new caregiver would be to be caring and compassionate, as well as being educated. Very many clients that have different conditions and you need to be very knowledgeable on what those conditions are and what those conditions entail. With that being said, I would advise new caregivers to stray away from using phrases such as "remember when" or "I already told you that," because a lot of them suffer from dementia and Alzheimer's. There are very many that suffer from post-stroke also, so another piece of advice would to pay attention. You need to be aware that some of them think that they can get up and walk when they can't. They will tell you that they can, but you need to be there helping them constantly - toileting, bathing, feeding, everything that they need you to do, you need to do.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
A client that I'll never forget is Miss Vesta. Miss Vesta is truly the one that gave me the passion that I have for caring for the elderly. She had outlived all of her family and she was never able to have children, so she looked at me as if I were her granddaughter and I looked at her as if she were a grandparent to me. She was an Alzheimer's patient, so she would tell me her whole life story every time I worked with her and I truly, truly enjoyed it. I enjoyed her presence and her company, and she enjoyed my company as well. She was a nutritionist in the past, so I knew her diet and the foods that she liked, and even on my off days, there were times when she is at the hospital and I would run and go and get her favorite foods for her to have, so she didn't have to eat whatever the hospital was serving, because she was a picky eater. I did a lot of things that I weren't asked to do and I really went above and beyond for her, because I realized that I was really all she had other than the other caregivers. I really was improving her quality of life by being there and caring for her the way I did, and it breaks my heart that she passed away. I feel like I lost a loved one when I found out about her passing.