My name is Michaela. I live in Clear Lake, CA and I have 24 years of caregiver experience.
How did you get into caregiving?
I became a caregiver because my great-grandmother, as I was growing up, she had dementia. I helped my mother care for her when I was about 14. I started caring with my mom for my great-grandmother and through the years I took care of her until I was about 22. Then she passed away and I went on to do more caregiving in my community and helped run an elder care home as well. And I really just enjoyed it.
What advice would you provide to a new caregiver?
My advice to a new caregiver would be to realize that no two days are going to be the same. They go through a lot of changes mentally and physically especially when they have dementia and to just try to, I guess, take the advice from more experienced caregivers. There are certain ways that certain things are handled and continuing education is very important. There are so many things on the internet that you can learn about dementia care and eldercare.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
A client I will never forget is Ms. Katherine. I took care of her for four years in the elder care home and the reason that she was so memorable to me, first because she always stayed very positive even in her bad times. I'll just call them that. She was just one of the ladies that you would ask her how she was and even when her pills were being mashed and she was not having a real good time with taking mashed pills with jelly or whatever she chose to have them with that day. We would say, "How are you today, Katherine?" And she would say, "I'm just peachy." Even though you could really tell that she wasn't. She always just stayed very positive.