Can you tell me a little about yourself and how you got into caregiving?
My name is Nora. I live in Union City and I've been a caregiver for 27 years. I've been doing caregiving as a trained CNA for seven years. The people who inspired me to become a caregiver were my mother and my father, due to them having strokes at an early age and both becoming paralyzed on one side. My father's condition was not as bad as my mother's, but I stopped working completely and went to take care of my mother and my father.
Who is your most memorable client?
Out of all the people I've cared for, the first person that comes to mind is my god-sister. She was diagnosed with cancer, and in her last stages she had lost a lot of weight and was crawling, basically, on her elbows. I think about her all the time and just pray that one day, if I am diagnosed with anything like she was, I would want someone like me to be in my life, like I was in hers.
What advice would you give to a new caregiver?
One piece of advice I would like to give to a new caregiver is that, it takes time. What I mean by that is, when you're coming in and you're working with someone, it takes time to get to know that person. To figure out what their needs are and to get to have conversations.To see if this is what your calling is. Is this what I enjoy doing? Is this something I'm going to like? And to me, it's really about getting to know your client. Most of the time you want to see if they are comfortable with you. It takes time to get to know people and everything else will fall in place.
What makes you proud to be a caregiver?
I had a young girl that had been in a car accident and was paralyzed from the neck down. When I met her, she was in a really dark place. She was in a dark room, she didn't want to open the curtains or talk to people. Working with her I was able to help bring her out of the darkness into the light where we can open the curtains. She can smile now. She can wash her own face and comb her own hair now. It felt good that I made a difference in her life. That's what I love about the job - making a difference in people's lives.