Can you tell me a little about yourself and how you got into caregiving?
Hi, my name is Monique and I currently live in Antioch, and I've been doing caregiving for about 12 years now. So the person who inspired me to do caregiving was my cousin Andre who got muscular dystrophy at a very early age. I started taking care of Andre when he was about six or seven in Redding, California. He is now 23 years old, still living with muscular dystrophy, and that also inspired me to take care of other people.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
A client I'll never forget, I met her in 2013, and I started taking care of her by accident. I was the night manager at apartments we were living in, and her son was causing a little bit of ruckus and throwing trash everywhere. Being the night manager, I actually had to go upstairs and talk to her, and knocked on the door. The son answered, and immediately when he opened the door, I knew something was wrong. So I pulled the mother to the side and started talking to her and told her I'm going to give her one more chance. I can't be having trash all over the apartment complex. So then we started talking, became more friends, and she told me that she was Stage 4 terminal cancer. Started as breast cancer, moved to her liver and her back and her lungs, so pretty much metastasized everywhere. And come to find out her son was autistic and he had cerebral palsy. So I started caring for both of them. Lasted about a year and a half, almost two, and I lost her last November. We did a lot of things together. We went on family trips, we went to Arizona. It's her first time ever going to Arizona and we did a road trip. We also went to Mexico, first time her ever going to Mexico. Went to Cancun and she had a blast. So that's one client I'll never forget.
What piece of advice would you give to a new caregiver?
What was your most challenging client as a caregiver?
One piece of advice for a new caregiver is to never stop learning. Always go the extra mile to find out something that you may not know. Contact another caregiver that you may know and see what they know. See if there's tricks that they have that you can learn from and go from there.
The most challenging client I've had was my grandfather. He had dementia and he was also Stage 4 lung cancer, but he was also a World War II vet. So getting him to take any kind of medication was pretty hard, so I would actually have to find things he enjoyed to do or wanted to do, and would kind of tell him, "Well, can I get you to take your medication and then we can go do this?" Or "We can go do whatever you want to do as long as you take your medication." So a little bit of bribery I guess went a long way. What I think makes me a great caregiver is I'm humble, and I've also been on both sides of the caregiving, being the family member that wants the correct caregiver and my family member have the love and attention and the good care that they need. And also being the care provider on the other end.