My name is Tim. I live in Irvine, CA and I've been a caregiver for 25 years.
How did you get into caregiving?
I became a caregiver because I was in the ER in 1990, that was in December, a man had been walking down the Dan Ryan Expressway and had been smashed up against the cement median by a car, broke most of his femurs. And the amount of people that were working on him as they wheeled him past my ER room was just incredible and there was about seven people doing stuff to him. It just inspired me that many people could care about one man, so I wanted to make a difference.
What advice would you provide to a new caregiver?
My advice to a new caregiver would be that first of all if you're in it for the money, you're in the wrong business. You need to be a loving, caring person. Empathetic, sympathetic to a person in need, they're not just a paycheck. Second of all, I guess refer back to number one, you have to care. You have to care and you have to show compassion to people that are in need of sympathy and caregiving.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
A lady that I'll never forget is a lady by the name of Frances and she was 93 years old, hunched over with scoliosis. She was about 4' tall. She didn't have a very good gait and she was always falling. I saw her three different occasions come through the rehab center with a broken arm on her left side and a broken arm on the right side and a broken shoulder on-- then again on the right side. So, she had fallen three times and this was a chronic problem but a couple cute funny stories before that. She was a very religious lady and I had helped her to the bathroom. I had brought her back to her chair, placed her in the chair, got her comfortable, brought her water to her and I made sure her call light was in reach. And I said, "I think you got it. You're all set now. You got both your call lights and your water there." And she said, "Both my call lights?" And I said, "Yes, your rosary right there and of course the call light." I said, "Now you're double protected. Nothing should go wrong." So she laughed. She understood that.
And then on the second or third time that she came in, she had lost her hearing aid. And when I answered the call light, she was praying out to St. Francis that he would help her find her hearing aid. And she was almost in tears because she couldn't find her-- this hearing aid. So I spent about 15 minutes and the whole time she was praying to St. Francis about this hearing aid. And I found it and she was so excited that I found it and she was thanking St. Francis. And I said, "I just gave a little prayer to God to help me and He took care of it for me." So it was just a little funny story and then, of course, she laughed and she understood what I saying. And it was just something that I'll just never forget her, she was just a really great lady. And you just got to go that extra little bit to take care of people and make them happy and comfortable, and well taken care of.