Faustina Caudillo’s role as a caregiver started at a young age, taking care of her grandma. In her early teens, she was there to help ease her elderly grandmother’s transition from life.
In many ways, the experience when she was 14 guided her to her job now as a Certified Nursing Assistant at the Comprehensive Care Center. Faustina has been working at the CCC for 12 years, in a wing of the facility with residents having more advanced needs.
“I helped my grandma pass away,” she recalls. “I wish I had known the ways to held the elders then. I still think about her. What if I had known how to help so she didn’t have bed sores, or how to puree food. We didn’t know any better.”
When she came from Mexico to the U.S. at age 17, Faustina thought about becoming a nurse, “but things happen” in life and she did not pursue that career. “I like taking care of old people,” she says. “I hope someone takes care of me the same way I care for them. There are a lot of challenges.”
The area in which she works is considered “total care.” “I feel like I’m their voice,” she says. “I tell (other staff) about positioning them, or any changes.”
She remembers her own grandmother when one of the CCC residents passes.
“It’s hard when they go,” Faustina admits. “But in the end it’s OK. You feel good because you help them through the process.”
In addition to her preference for total care residents, Faustina says she learns from the residents, some of who can still tell stories of their lives.
“You learn so many stories,” she said. “Some are sad. Some are happy. You make the best out of the day.”
Though she worked for a short time at another long-term care facility, Faustina said she returned to the CCC because of the staff, the organization and the cleanliness.
“I know all of them,” she says of her coworkers. “If they see I’m drowning, they come and help. We know each other.”
The married mother of two exudes a calmness and a sense of love when caring for her residents, even in the most difficult of circumstances. “At the end of the day, I feel good when I go home,” she says.