Can you tell me a little about yourself and how you got into caregiving?
My name is Robin. I've been a caregiver for six years and I live in Oakland, California. I became a caregiver when I graduated high school. I thought of becoming a nurse, but I changed my mind and went to work with people one-on-one as a caregiver. I really enjoy and love working with people. I'm a very experienced caregiver. I have a CNA license, which is how I got my experience working as a caregiver with people. I work with all clients - Alzheimer's, dementia, chronic diseases, mental illness - and I'm ready to learn more.
Can you tell us about one of your most memorable clients?
One of my clients I work with is 92 years old. It was a funny because her daughter warned me when I first started that her mother was mean and doesn't like new people. It turned out fine and we really hit it off. I really love her. Sometimes she has her bad days, but I understand because she's older and she's just going through some changes. Every day she brings a smile to my face and makes me want to come to work.
What is one experience as a caregiver that you've learned from?
I've managed to work with people who others have given up on. I met one client, and other caregivers wouldn't even last a week because she was paranoid about stealing. She was very talkative and she loved a lot of drama, but I stayed there every day. Her social workers used to ask me, "How do you stay there?" And I just told them, "We just get along. I understand her. I know that's her personality, so I know how to treat her." She asked me not to bring certain things so I didn't because I respected her. And in return she respected me, as well.
What makes you a good caregiver?
People tell me I'm a good caregiver because I have patience. With patience, comes understanding, as well. I make sure I take my time and I go at the pace they want me to go, because if I'm going too fast and getting frustrated, it's not going to work out with the client. I just take my time, listen to them, and I make sure I always have patience. I keep them happy and make sure they're comfortable because I'm there to help them. When I get older, I want somebody to have patience with me and take the time to make sure I'm happy and comfortable as well.