INTERVIEW WITH HHA LAILUTIZA CONDUCTED AND RECORDED BY STELLA PARK, SOCIAL WORK INTERN IN DECEMBER 2020.
What makes you like taking care of others? When I was 14, my great grandmother was very sick. After having to go through that with my family, I want to be there for anybody else who is in a similar situation as me. What is the best thing you've learned from an older adult client? I have learned that everyone is different and no matter how difficult they are, there is a part of their brain... working to help them push forward and keep going. I help [one client] push forward by doing activities with him. I still push him with his exercises. I know his mind is still capable to fight through, so I just have to push him to work hard. The important thing is making sure he/she is comfortable with me first whether through conversation, activities, or eating. I have to build the foundation first, then engage with them. What is one of your fondest memories with an older adult client? When I first started in this field, I went to a hospital to do my training which was with a one-on-one client. I will never forget this man. He was unable to move his entire body and would not speak, and the nurses just told me that this was how he was. Mr. Jones would gravitate towards me though because I built a communication style with him. He would communicate with his eyes; he’d look up when he wanted to say yes or he’d close his eyes whenever he wanted to say no. I could tell he was trying to speak. So, I got him a chalkboard from the nurses and asked him to write out what he needed. He can understand you and even write, but he just could not speak. He was able to communicate, but people were just not taking the time to get to know him. He was perfectly able, but no one bothered with this man. I still think about him to this day. Can you think of a time where you felt proud of your work? Through Mr. Jones. Helping him made me realize that people need to be cared for. He stood out the most to me especially since I learned how to build different communication styles with people. If someone was just starting out as a HHA, what advice would you give them? Be patient & always try your best to be understanding. Have one on one time with your client & make them comfortable with you. Treat them like you would want someone to treat your family member. How do you stay motivated during times of difficulty? I always say that I am still here & I’m here for a reason. I am the one to help those in need. Making at least one person happy for the day keeps me pushing.