Hi, my names is Tonya. I live in Hercules, California. I've been a caregiver for three years.
How did you get into caregiving?
I became a caregiver because I had a friend who had a sister who needed someone to come and to help her after having major surgery. In doing so, I really learned a lot in coming to her home and seeing that this person once was able to take care of herself and now she needed some help. For myself as well, in the year 2014, I had major surgery and experienced what it's like to have to depend on someone else. Even though I had a husband and my children at the time were able to help me, it's just the thought of knowing that you no longer can do things on your own. I believe that I am the perfect person to be in this industry because I've learned about what it feels like to have to depend on someone. It takes someone to be very patient, very caring, and truly understanding that that person that you are helping is depending on you.
What advice would you provide to a new caregiver?
My advice to a new caregiver would be to keep an open mind or to have an open mind. You don't know what that person once was like before and so it's important to keep that open mind. Because, again, I learned from my own experience that you're depending on someone that you don't know to do the things that you once were able to do for yourself. So I hope that this will help someone for the first time wanting to be a caregiver.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
A client I will never forget, that comes to mind for me, is Ann. Ann was very outgoing, full of life. I remember her always looking forward to me coming to her home. She was like a little kid. A lot of times, my time spent with her after doing what I needed to do for her, we would just sit and talk. On the days that I was not scheduled to go, I found myself going to her house anyway because I realized that she was very lonely. Through me going over there and spending a little extra time with her, she began to share things with me that she probably wouldn't have shared with anyone. There was laughter in her life and even though her life was not going to be the same from the surgery that she had to have, still she was very uplifted, I believe, for that extra time that I was spending with her. Ann will always be with me.