Can you tell me a little about yourself and how you got into caregiving?
I'm Riakkya and I live in Vallejo. I've been caregiving for 7 years. I got into it from volunteering with my mother who does caregiving and is certified. I eventually just loved what I did, I liked helping people and I like that I made a difference in their life and they just needed me. Sometimes they have a hard time dealing with their situation
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
I connected with my last client. He was paralyzed from the chest down, he can't do anything on his own and his family isn't really supportive or help often. He mainly leans on his friends and his caregivers so our relationships between his caregiver and him have to be really strong. And I connected with him the most just because his personality. Somedays he would be so sad and I would just make him laugh and try to get him out of it.
It was just his drive to always do more. I like that he always tried no matter what. He actually does paintings with his mouth [chuckles]. It was really hard just because of his neck and how he had to get something in it and it was really hard at first but he just kept going with it. And at first he would get frustrated and I would be like, "Don't get frustrated. We can do this. We can do this. We can figure out a way. Let's go." And eventually, he got really famous for it.
What are your strengths as a caregiver?
I learned patience from him, I've learned to even when you're feeling down and out to push a little bit but not too much to just get them in the right mood. I think it's all about just getting them in the right mood because a lot of people don't understand what they go through. And some days they're up, some days they're down and you have to be there for them. You really have to treat them like family.
What piece of advice would you give to a new caregiver?
It would be to make sure your heart is in it because if it's not I don't think you could do the job correctly