My first experience as a caregiver was working in a group home for individuals who have developmental disabilities. I worked in two different group home settings. One home was all male and the other was primarily female. I gained experience working with clients in wheelchairs; who had dementia, seizures, ostomy bags, 02 machines, CPAP machines; who needed ADL assistance, feeding assistance, bed pan usage, etc. I enjoyed my work because it didn't feel like I was working. In between doing the tasks that were needed of me, I enjoyed my client's company and engaged them in activities to help enrich their lives. When I moved to St. Louis I worked as a Home Health Aid and worked with clients who had Parkinson's Disease, Alzheimer's, in hospice, multiple sclerosis, etc. I worked in client's homes and sometimes alongside other caregivers to help provide the best care possible. I am currently Adult CPR and First Aid certified, I was a certified Med tech in both NJ and MO state so I have some knowledge of medications. I hold a BA in Psychology and am trained in behavioral management techniques. I just like giving back. I used to work retail, but never enjoyed my jobs because I never felt like they were jobs that really made a difference. I got my degree in Psychology in hopes to work with people who need someone to be there for them. I enjoy knowing that I can put a smile on someone's face. I became a caregiver because my sister was diagnosed with cancer in August 2009. After a successful military career as a Master Aircraft Maintenance Scheduler and a Maximum Security Corrections Officer in Wyoming, my entire world shifted...I became aware of her need for full-time care and assisted her with activities of daily living. I found the work challenging, gratifying, and interesting. When I relocated to Texas, I began working for a home health agency in Tyler, TX where I provided care for clients for over 4 years. I have pride in always meeting the clients needs and developing a healthy, professional relationship with them that enables me to provide needed care while preserving their dignity and independence.
My fondest memory during my caregiver experiences was working with a young man with end-stage AIDS. His emotional need to maintain some elements of control while surrendering so much physical control due to the trajectory of his illness was a unique challenge. Because music was so important to him and represented an emotional outlet, I was able to use this mutual link to keep him engaged and motivated until his death. Where friends and family were unable to reach him on a personal level, I helped them and him to reconnect through this basic experience.
I enjoy being a Caregiver because it allows me to see the best in people at the worst times in their lives...it just takes patience, professionalism, and understanding.