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A shared language and a daughter’s perspective helped forge a special client/caregiver bond

Byung has been a caregiver for seven years, but a current client has a special place in her heart.

When Byung first met the client, she was very sick. She was not able to get out of bed, not able to shower and she was not eating. She was growing increasingly weak. Byung couldn’t sleep at night, she was so worried about the client’s worsening condition.

It could be an overwhelming situation for a lot of caregivers – even one as experienced as Byung.

But Byung was determined – in part because the client, who is of Korean heritage and spoke Korean – reminded Byung of her own mother, who is about the same age as the client and was also beginning to face some health challenges. Byung’s mother was far away – still living in Korea – but Byung wanted to help her client in the same way that she would have cared for her own mother.

A craving for watermelon helped the client build up strength

Byung discovered that the client, though not very hungry, loved watermelon and thought she could eat some watermelon. Byung was so determined to get the client something she would eat, that she bought watermelon every day and made juice from it. The client went through a watermelon every day!

Eventually, the client was able to eat some chicken soup and gradually got stronger. While the client still needs caregiving assistance, she is now able to get out of bed and shower on her own. She and Byung have a special bond. The client’s daughter even called the Help at Home office to thank them for Byung’s work. The daughter said “Because of Byung, my mother has gotten so much better.”

What makes a good caregiver

Byung learned to be a good caregiver in part from her mother, who she describes as a person with a lot of heart.

Byung said it’s important to not make assumptions about what is the most important help a client needs. Instead, she always asks them about their needs, preferences, and priorities.

Some really want help with meals, others can do the meals but want help with cleaning. Still others want someone to spend some time talking to them. “Focus on what they want,” she said.  After all, asking questions is how she knew to get watermelon for her client!

“I really enjoy working as a caregiver,” Byung said. “I always take care of them with the same heart that I would use for my mother.”