Hi, my name is Rebecca. I live in Whittier, CA and I've been a caregiver for about three years.
How did you get into caregiving?
I became a caregiver because in high school they had a RO pre-program for health academy, and I was doing that through high school. Then while in high school, my aunt got sick with cancer, so I took care of her. Also, I really enjoy doing it because I've never had grandparents, and I love taking care of residents and patients because it just reminds me of that and how I would like my grandparents or loved ones to be treated or how I would like them to be cared for.
What advice would you give to a new caregiver?
My advice to a new caregiver would be just to be patient and you don't always know the situation. A patient may have Alzheimer's or dementia or another behavioral disease or they may not be able to remember quickly. So just to be patient with them and just learn as you go along. And the better you get to know them, the better you get to know how to work with them. So it'll just be all good to take care of them, and you'll be able to get along with them which is always a bonus added onto the job.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
The client that I will never forget was one when I was doing a board and care. When I went in she, the staff, and my boss let me know that she didn't talk much. She had dementia. She had a stroke and also she was a little difficult as they would say when to go the restroom because she would scream. When I came in and when I worked with her, it wasn't too hard. I just tried to get a sense of her. Her name was Margaret, and I would just sit there and talk with her. And after a couple of weeks, she would start talking back to me and say, "Yes," and we would have fun stories and things like that at lunchtime. And then I would take her to watch her shows, and I would sit there with her for a little bit. And she would squeeze my hand when she thought something was funny. And I would look at her, and she would laugh back at me. About two months in, she started talking more to me, and when I would take her to the restroom, which was a problem that I was told, she wouldn't scream. Everything was okay. I felt like she was very comfortable with me, and we got along very well. Unfortunately, the house had closed, so she had to be transferred to another home - another board and care. When she left, she squeezed my hand tightly, and I was very sad to see her go. But I do know that it happened-- I believe we shared a special bond, and I miss her, and I still think about her to this day. And I hope she's being taken care of because it does take a special person to take care of someone who's had a stroke and who also has dementia.