How did you get into caregiving?
The person who inspired me to become a caregiver was actually my grandmother's mother. She had a stroke, and was bed bound and hospitalized. When she came from the hospital, she ended up coming into our home. So at age 15, I started caring for her. And she was hospital bed bound, she was left side paralyzed. She had a feeding tube, she had a catheter. And so, at a early age, I learned that I wanted to become a caregiver. So at age 18, I seeked out my first job taking care of others.
Who was one of your most memorable clients?
Of all the people that I cared for, the first person to come to mind is Miss Coté. I was given the opportunity to care for Miss Coté through her daughter Stephanie Coté, and I instantly fell in love with the family. She was a joy to work for. She was a little old lady, and we read to each other, and enjoyed sitting looking out the window, watching her television shows. She liked watching black and white television shows. And she didn't eat much, so it was a stickler to get her to eat something.
What makes you proud to be a caregiver? My proudest moment as a caregiver was a morning that I was taking care of Miss Coté in the hospice care center, and I said, "Hi, Miss Coté. How are you this morning?" She said, "Hey Shundrell, when did you get here?" I said, "Miss Coté, I've been here all along taking care of you." And she said, "That's nice." And I called her daughter immediately and her daughter said, "She remembered who you was? I'm going to call my sister and we're on our way over there." I said, "Okay."
Are there any caregiving tips you can share?
One piece of advice I would give to a new caregiver is to make sure that you get to know the person that you're going to be taking care of, and know the needs of that person. And most of all, make sure that you have had proper training in caring for them.