This week Caring Senior Service honors Blesilda Smith, a caregiver in our Caring Senior Service of Scottsdale office. In this interview, Blesilda explains what inspired her to become a caregiver and what has motivated her to deliver care to seniors over the last 16 years.
Can you tell a little bit about yourself?
I am 60. I am from the Philippines, here in America 32 years.
How long have you been a caregiver?
How long have you been with Caring Senior Service?
11 years going on 12.
"It doesn’t matter about the reward...you help people to carry on their lives with their families. ..."
What inspired you to become a caregiver?
My mother in-law. I was working with the doctor’s office I was an MA (medical assistant) and I took care of my parent-in-laws for a while. My husband is the only child and now I feel like obligated to take care of them. When they’re gone, I was realizing that there are a lot of people like them where there’s no family and I was trying if I go back to the same work in the doctor’s office or doing this with people and so God told me to change my career not for the money but to, you know, help the elderly.
Are there any significant challenges you had to overcome to get to where you are now?
My father-in-law is like my dad he had Alzheimer's and [overwhelmed] I’m overcome when I remember them. [cries] It’s hard when you have Alzheimer's. It’s hard [tearing up]. It was a wonderful time to be with my father-in-law and then he wouldn’t recognize (me). The hard part was that my husband was kind of in denial. I carry on alone but they were his parents… It’s hard for my husband.
What has been your favorite story/experience since working with Caring Senior Service?
I could write a book [laughs] since I've work with Caring Senior Service. I have a lot of people. God blessed me with wonderful people. Taking care of a senator in our state and a general in the military. Just last year he just passed away. He was in the army and they treated me like their daughter and their children are wonderful.
What is the most rewarding thing about being a caregiver?
It’s so many things. It doesn’t matter about the reward. It’s like you help people to carry on their lives with their families. You will be there with them and make their lives worthwhile. Even though they know that sometimes they will say “why am I living for so long”. Being there and giving them hope every day in their pains and aches. We make a lot of fun going out, taking them to the doctor or reading stories … I’m her storyteller.… when you age they don’t remember who they are then and no more friends (come) because their mind is not always there. But when you’re there, that just makes their lives better … they wait for you every morning when you come in and they will tell you you are the sunshine in their lives. I (wouldn’t) exchange this for money.
I know God is providing for me so I love my work. I can see some of my coworkers. They’re there and they need the money but for me it’s different. I know I need the money, of course I have bills and a house to pay, but I make it worthwhile.
What is the most challenging thing about being a caregiver?
When they are in pain and how to make their life easy and also when their minds are confused. There’s days they are so confused and so I just have to be very creative.
What advice would you offer to someone looking to become a caregiver?
From my experience just make everyday worthwhile and just be there and help the people and make their lives happy and enjoyable and don’t think the job is so hard. For me, I don’t know, I just feel I am anointed to do this job [laughs] it just comes naturally that’s why it’s not hard for me. In the beginning, I was a medical assistant for a while and even worked for doctors… my doctor… I don’t know with other caregivers but for me that’s me. It just comes naturally. Then the people I took care of they’re always looking forward to seeing me everyday then when I’m gone during emergencies they don’t want other people. … I said “clone me, I cannot clone myself”
Everyone here at Caring Senior Service National Headquarters would like to thank Blesilda and officially recognize her for the service she provides to Caring Senior Service of Scottsdale and the seniors in her community. Blesilda we hope you enjoy the Samsung Galaxy Tablet 4 we sent you, its our way of saying thank you as we celebrate 25 years of helping seniors!