Hello, my name is Valerie. I currently live in Chula Vista, CA and I've been a caregiver for 2 years.
How did you get into caregiving?
I became a caregiver because I want to be a nurse. I grew up with a family of nurses. My grandmother and my aunt were nurses and they were the most loving people I ever knew. It just shows me from the people I grew up with who are taking care of others, that I can be that nurturing person for someone who is in need of it. I feel like I have the compassion for it. I can do the hard work of a caregiver because I put love into my work, and I am willing to make connections with different types of people because it's a great experience. It's something I could take with me are the skills for when I become a nurse.
What advice would you provide to a new caregiver?
My advice to new caregivers would be whenever you get a new client, read about them, do your research, find out what kind of foods they like, find out if they like to get up and go out go out, go shopping, get groceries. Find out if they have dementia or Alzheimer's. If you don't know anything about dementia or Alzheimer's, then do your research, because it's important when you work with these clients that you can notice if there's anything that's off about them, anything that's not healthy. If they have a stroke, you need to be able to recognize that, you need to recognize stuff that's going wrong. Just be social, just get to know them, don't be nervous. Ask them questions about themselves and volunteer things about yourself too. You want to build a relationship with each other and just enjoy the journey.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
A client I will never forget would be Ekko. When I came to work with Ekko, she was bedridden. I worked with her for a whole year, and despite her being bedridden, she was one of the liveliest, happiest people I knew. We would play the piano, and we would just talk about her time as a skier in Germany. She told me that she was in Germany at the time of WWII. She was almost 100 years old, and she remembers the Great Depression and WWI and WWII. It was amazing hearing all her stories. One of my favorite moments with Ekko would her birthday. She turned 96, and we just ate chocolates and just laughed and talked about her husband who had previously passed, because it made her happy to remember him. And it made me feel special that she was opening up to me because I really cared for her, and I'm glad that we had that type of relationship. She was one of my most memorable clients.