Christina's Caregiving Story

How long have you been a caregiver? Christina and her family
Christina and her family

Since 2008, when my son was diagnosed with a chronic Myocardial Infarction.

Who do you care for?

I have been caring for my adult son who is now in his mid 30's. He was diagnosed with Schizophrenia when he was in his early 20's.

What are some of the things you do for him, as a caregiver?

Currently he resides at a board and care. As his caregiver, I assist him by picking up his medication refills, and my family takes him to doctor appointments and we try to work as a team as much as possible.
I continue to advocate for him during crisis and I keep in communication with his doctors and try keeping him on track with his mental health.
As a caregiver, I'm also responsible for his finances, making sure his rent is paid, and accompanying him when he needs to go shopping, but also reporting updates to Department of Developmental Services when his Disability Determination is scheduled every few years.


What have been some of the greatest challenges in your caregiving journey?

Finding the right housing that meets his needs has been the biggest challenge.
He has gone through rehab, where he was given chores and required to participate in group therapy, and continue taking meds, and he was in a much healthier mental state. He also lived in a sober living house, where he stayed sober, but they did not manage his meds, so he went off his meds and had a crisis.
He is now at a board and care with over 100 residents, they distribute medications, prepare all meals, but it is not a sober living environment, and are not required to drug test.
I am currently searching for a B&C that supports sobriety. It's definitely been a long journey, and the search continues.

What are the most rewarding aspects of caregiving for you?

I love all my children, I would do anything for them! But just knowing that my son did not choose to have schizophrenia, I must continue to advocate and fight for him.
My reward is believing my son can still experience a fulfilling life.

How do you stay connected to your personal passions and interests?

I am blessed that L.A. Care had a position that was perfect for my passion of helping others as a Community Health Worker. I feel good inside knowing I can provide valuable resources to our members that can improve their health.
As far as a hobby, I love to shoot pool! It's relaxing for me because mentally I have to focus on something else, and it's also challenging.

How does your family recognize and thank you for being a caregiver? Should Caregivers be recognized and thanked?

I am so blessed to have a close family, they are a great support system to me. They check in on me, to see how my son and I are doing. They just always provide kind loving words because they know it can be so difficult at times.
Should Caregivers be recognized and thanked? It's not something I expect, I'm like a momma bear just fighting for her cubs. I'll do anything for my family! But yes, it's nice to take the time to thank caregivers, they deserve a little recognition for what they do.

What advice do you have for other caregivers?

My advice to other caregivers is please don't forget to take care of yourself too! Many times we put our needs to the side.
Take care of yourself and most importantly, ask for help when you need it!