Hi, my name is Sharon. I live in Granada Hills, CA and I have been a caregiver for about two to three years.
How did you get into caregiving?
I became a caregiver for my loved ones and also my uncle when he came to live with us. He could not help himself, he had a stroke and was paralyzed on the left side of his body, so I had to help feed, bathe, go to the bathroom and dress him. For my father, who had cancer, he was in and out of UCLA and Holy Cross. Finally, took him to a retirement home. I did not like the care he received, the bed sores, the sanitation, that really upset me and the way the older people are treated. I am a preschool teacher right now and have been for 28 years. I have two and three-year-olds and to me I'm going to be taking care of my bigger babies. I love them. I'm there to help them. We're the only ones that could be there for them.
What advice would you provide to a new caregiver?
My advice to a new caregiver would be to just be yourself, be loving to the people, listen to their stories and go along with their stories even if they think you're someone else, pretend to be that person at that time to make them happy, maybe do arts and crafts or play card games with them, take them for a walk, give them some nice times to remember in their last years, provide an ear, provide a shoulder for them and just be a friend to them.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
A client I will never forget would be my Uncle Teddy. Uncle Teddy has been a lifer in the navy for about 35 years until he had a stroke, ran off the road in Hawaii. As he went to the hospital, my aunt assumed that there was nothing she could really help him with, so she sent him to us in California and that's where I took over. Uncle Teddy had lots of war stories, he's very funny, he told me many, many stories about war, football and just the average day in Hawaii. Uncle Teddy would always try to put stuff together, even a bike and he even tried to ride on home from Target one day. I will cherish all of my times I had with uncle Teddy, especially when walking down the street on a long walk and if a car backfired, he would throw me down on the ground and get on top of me as if we were in Vietnam right then and there. Anyways, I will have great memories of him.