Hi, my name is Shakila. I live in West Sacramento, CA and I've been a caregiver for 5 years.
How did you get into caregiving?
I became a caregiver because for years, I watched my grandmother provide care for adults with disabilities, and since then I always knew I wanted to be someone who nurtured others. Back in 2011 my aunt came down from Arkansas and she had dementia, so my grandmother asked me, "Do you want to become a caregiver for your aunt?" And I said, "Well, I guess so." That was back in 2011, and shortly after, she passed away because she just didn't want to eat and her dementia phased into Alzheimer's. So I continued providing care for other clients, and then back in 2011 I became a CNA, and I just know that this is the field that's right for me.
What advice would you provide to a new caregiver?
My advice to any new caregiver would be is to have patience, compassion, and be kindhearted. I say those three things because I've been in the field for five years. If you don't have those three things I feel like it's not for you, because some people just go into this field thinking it's going to be money, or I'm really unsure. I know this is the field for me, so I would say just mainly have patience, because sometimes getting your clients to do things that you want can be time consuming. So you've got to have a lot of patience. You've got to know how to nurture someone, come off kindhearted, and really just have compassion. Because think about this, if this is your family member, you want them to be given the best care that can be provided. So just make sure you take your time, use proper English, and make sure that this is just for you, because if it's not for you, you don't want to get your license revoked for malpractice or being negligent to someone, so just make sure that if you want to become a caregiver, make sure this is the field for you, because it's in the title, caregiver. You're giving, and you're providing care.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
A client that I will never forget was Bill. Bill had cancer and he was on hospice care. So when I came in he was already in his final stages. His family welcomed me with warmth and I just felt like I was a part of their family. Bill, his mood was always up and down, but whenever he would tell me things like I just want to die or just let me go, I would say like you're okay, or no, you're fine, but he would look at me into my eyes and he knew that I was providing the best care that I can give him. So after that he would be fine. He just felt like he wanted to pass away. I really don't know what happened to Bill after that because I got switched to a different client, but I really just felt a connection with his family and a connection with him because he was a fighter. And although he had cancer, he wanted to do the things that he used to do, like get out of bed, and I was like, "Oh, Bill, you can't do that." And he was just a sweetheart, and I really loved him and his family.