Hi, my name is Rachel. I live in Simi Valley, CA and I have been a caregiver for 5 years.
How did you get into caregiving?
The main reason why I became a caregiver was actually for my dad because back in 2010 before he died, he was very ill, and we didn't have a lot of money to hire someone. So naturally, I stepped up into that role. And while helping him with day-to-day tasks, I just felt really good. It felt really good and very natural for me to help someone else. I realized that I wanted to become a nurse or a PNA or an RN and pursue my career further in that because I helped him, because when I was helping him, it just kind of clicked and came so very easily to me.
What advice would you provide to a new caregiver?
My advice to a new caregiver would be just to have patience, that everybody's different, and everybody has different circumstances, but just to be kind and nurturing and as helpful as you can possibly be. We don't know anybody else's situation except our own, and we just need to be very compassionate to those who need our help. Not everybody's going to be in a good mood; not everybody's going to be in a bad mood. We just are there to help make their lives easier, and one way to help make their life easier is to be as compassionate and caring as we can possibly be. Hence the name caregiver.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
The client who I will never forget is Todd. He is absolutely amazing. At first, I was a little nervous to help him. I had never really helped someone who had a traumatic brain injury, but as time went on, I realized that it just takes time to become comfortable. It takes time to get to know somebody, and that's how you build a relationship with them. That's how you build trust with someone else, is how you handle them day to day. And a good memory that I have with him actually is, the first month that I worked for him, I made him a cake, just randomly. I knew he loved chocolate, and I made him a cake. And I remember he was having a bad day. He was feeling kind of lonely, and he was upset because he recently had a stroke, and fortunately he's the kind of debilitated has come from being unable to walk. He's unable to speak very clearly; he slurs his words. And he was very upset because he felt that people weren't coming over to visit him and spend time with him. So what I did-- because I felt to cheer him up would make him a really nice chocolate cake and to let him know that he's just valued and appreciated. And when I did that, he started crying, and he told me that he appreciated having a friend like me, someone who cared enough about him to give him something that he likes or he wanted or he cared out, someone who actually listens to him and took time to spend time with him despite his injuries. And that made me feel even better about working for him, and ever since then, I feel we have built even more trust and a bond with each other. And I really care about my patient. He's a wonderful man.