Hi, my name is Suzanne. I live in San Diego, CA and I have 17 years of caregiver assistance.
How did you get into caregiving?
I became a caregiver because my grandmother had Alzheimer's for 20 years, and my mother currently is in the stages of Alzheimer's. And I have two children that I have enjoyed being a very involved mother, and I enjoy doing caregiver-type services. Just overall making it feel like we're a family and enjoying conversation and each other's company, although taking it to the next level of being the caregiver with giving them respect and dignity at the same time.
What advice would you provide to a new caregiver?
My advice to a new caregiver would be to treat the person the way I would want to be treated when it's my time that I'm going to need a caregiver, with respect, dignity, patience, have interesting ideas, and interactions. Make the person feel like this is their life, because it is, and they're in control of it. And you're just there to help them accomplish what it is they want to do. And it can be an enjoyable experience for both people. Don't think of it like a job, think of it like a social time and you're just the one who's making sure things get done.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
A person that I took care of that I will never forget is a elderly lady who was very sharp in her heyday and loved to invest, and kept up with the daily politics and how they affected the investment world. And as her dementia progressed, she had less opportunity to stay on top of these parts, so I would have conversations with her that tapped into her memories on how exciting that part of the world was for her. We'd talk about local stocks and things going on in the world. And also she was an avid horseback rider, and so we would talk about riding horses. I also rode horses. And I would pull out her old photo albums and we would talk about the photo albums, and she would just light up and tell me about the names of her old horses and the journeys that she had, traveling around, showing them. And it was very enjoyable because she would talk to me about her life when she was at her pinnacle of the world that she enjoyed. It was fun to hear about.