Can you tell me a little about yourself and how you got into caregiving?
My name is Pernisha. I live in San Francisco California and I've been a caregiver almost 10 years now. I became a caregiver because of my mother, my step father and my grandmother. My step father was the first person I cared for. Back in 2004 is when he had his first stroke and his seizures, and I started taking care of him with my other siblings and my grandmother. After I started caring for him, my mother got sick so I started caring for her.
Can you describe some of the ways you've cared for your past clients?
I take my mom to her appointments, make sure that she takes her albuterol, and that she has her oxygen machine at night. I started caring for my grandmother a couple years ago. She has congestive heart failure and she also goes to dialysis. I make sure that she makes it to her dialysis three days a week. I also cooked and prepared meals for them and made sure that their house was organized. I made sure everything was clean, and there wasn't any dust.
If you could give one piece of advice to a new caregiver, what would it be?
If I could give some advice to a new caregiver that would be to listen. Because you never know what's really going on if your ears are not open.
What makes you proud to be a caregiver?
My proudest moment as a caregiver was with my mother. She felt that she wasn't going to make it to her appointment and she was crying and everything. I called the cab driver and said, "Okay I need a cab driver and I need him to come right now." We got in the cab and I said, "Look man, you got to put the pedal to the metal, we got to get to this appointment." So we ended up getting there like ten minutes early and my mom was like, "Oh thank you, thank you baby." I said, "Mama, I told you I was going to make sure you got to that appointment. I wasn't going to let you miss your appointment." She was just so happy, and I was happy because she was happy and she got to her appointment.
How do you know when you've gone a great job as a caregiver?
I believe that when my mom smiles, my step dad smiles, my grandmother, or anybody that I work with smiles-- I'm doing something right. And I like that, it makes me feel good.