Hello, my name's Michele. I live in Santa Monica,CA and I've been a caregiver for more than 10 years.
How did you get into caregiving?
I became a caregiver because I feel that helping others is a great purpose and a very fulfilling job. I do believe that everybody deserves to keep their dignity no matter how capable they are of taking care of themselves or not capable of taking care of themselves. It's a very important job, especially to take care of our young and elderly. We're all human beings.
What advice would you provide to a new caregiver?
My advice to a new caregiver would be to let anything roll off your back, just like water off a duck's feathers because sometimes people have bad days and sometimes people have great days and especially when you're helping out somebody else that is in a position where they cannot take care of themself, there's a certain amount of dignity that they need to hold on to and sometimes people feel bad about needing help. Sometimes people are very grateful for having help but sometimes when people feel bad about needing help from other people, they kind of take it out in anger. As much as it's not okay to be angry with somebody over a situation they don't have any control over, it's important to make sure that you are confident in yourself and why you're there because you are there to help and you are serving a greater purpose.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
A client I will never forget was named Jeanette. When I was very young I lived in Kentucky and one my first caregiving jobs was for this woman. She was wheelchair-bound. She had a stroke and she lost the use of her arm and her leg and she couldn't walk and especially taking care of her big house, she needed a lot of help. She was very specific about the things that she wanted done in her house and how she wanted them done and and we grew to have a good relationship because I let her know that I would try my best to do the things that she wanted me to do to the best of the ability but they would never be equal to how she wanted the things done in her house, the way that she did them because she was perfect the way that she was and nobody else would achieve the perfection that she had in her life that she wanted. So I think we were able to learn from each other. She was a lot of fun to hang out with. We would go to the store and we would go shopping and she was very specific about the things that she was looking for. The fabrics and the stitching and clothing was never as good as she wanted it to be and they didn't make things the way that she was used to seeing them when she was younger and it was an interesting experience to be hanging out with her because I really learned that the quality of life is very important in addition to the quality of your surroundings and when you make your surroundings the way that you want them, it gives you a very good quality of life but when somebody else is in control of your surroundings, it's very stressful, especially when you've lived such an ordered life. She was a wonderful woman and I think I'm better for meeting her.