Hi, my name is Nompumelelo. I'm from Citrus Heights, CA and I've been a caregiver for 4 years.
How did you get into caregiving?
I became a caregiver because I was taking care of my great grandmother who at that time-- her children had taken her to a home and she was not happy with it. I also had to come through and help him with taking care of her. That's when I realized that there's such a need to care for the elderly. You know, they become like children and you must love them and care for them just like you would do for your own children. That's when I started to just want to care for the elderly.
What advice would you provide to a new caregiver?
My advice to a new caregiver would be is you need to have patience and compassion and be a good listener because some of the old people just wants you to be a companion. They want to talk to you. They want to just express how they feel and what they need. So it is very important that if you see them, let them talk to you and let them share with you so that you can be able to build the bond. Also be an open minded person. Do not rush when you do things. Take your time because you are dealing with people who are delicate. You need to have a skill to be accommodating because most of the time they are not even from the same background as you. Just accommodate their needs because it's about them when you are working as a caregiver. It's not about you. You can always have your life somewhere else but when you are with the people that you care about, it is about them.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
A client that I will never forget is Ined. She had everything that she wanted to say to her daughter but she never got to say it. One day she said to me she has something that she really wants to share and it's something that's very private and confidential. She asked me never to tell anybody and just to keep it to myself. I felt tested because I would really love to share with someone. But when someone is asking for a confidential thing to say I want to share something with you but I want you to promise me that you'll never talk about it again to anyone, even about the people that I'm going to be telling you about. I listened to her and she went over and over telling me something really touching and very painful that she went through. I've never had anything that painful in my mind or the fact that it can happen to someone that you know and it's never been known. To me, that's something that I'll never forget.