Putting my carer skills into action
As some of you may have seen from my previous blog, I have recently completed 3 days of carer training with The Care Collection, a company providing bespoke, high quality care at home across Kirklees and Calderdale – from Huddersfield to Halifax, Dewsbury to Deighton, Batley to Brighouse and Meltham to Mirfield.
After the training I could have worried that I would be left to my own devices. Not true at The Care Collection. From the get go I have had endless support from my manager Catherine Haigh. I feel very privileged to have someone who is not only very approachable and kind, but has over 20 years of care expertise who I can learn from.
Entering a new home for the first time I was nervous, excited, apprehensive and eager. I hadn’t felt that way since school prom, only this time I wasn’t nervous about messing up the first dance. Who would have thought at 31 I would have felt the same buzz again?
However, as a result of my carer training and being in constant touch with Catherine, I entered my first care experience with a smile and full of confidence. In the back of my mind I already knew a little about this person as Catherine provided me with her background and preferences. This thorough preparation meant that I understood my roles and responsibilities from the start. Whilst The Care Collection provides the full range of home care services across Kirkless and Calderdale (including companionship, domestic support, personal care and more complex care packages), the service for this particular client is 6.5 hours companionship one day a week.
From the moment I met the client I knew supporting her was going to be a wonderful experience. She has a smile to light up a room, a personality to put the most exuberant person to shame and some of the most interesting conversation topics I’ve ever had the pleasure of being involved in. Care work, you’re winning so far!
As I get to know the client, I’m overjoyed that I can be involved in making her day more pleasant by listening, offering conversation, assisting with shopping, running errands and being part of any fun activities she wishes to be involved in, including going out for a pub lunch. I love listening to peoples’ life stories. What better way of getting to know somebody than being invited into their home and enjoying a cup of tea together with no distractions. The client and I have a lot in common; we both grew up in the same area, share common interests and appear to make one another laugh. Who knew I was funny?
I feel an overwhelming sense of personal gratification from spending time with her. Whilst I was proud of throwing myself in the deep end and giving care a real shot, in all honestly it’s the actual care where the real satisfaction comes from. I can’t imagine a better feeling than spending time with someone and making their day a little bit brighter. What an absolute commendable way to spend an afternoon, with someone who is preciously kind and totally honest.
I’ve now supported the client a number of times and each time has been more enjoyable. We always have gossip from the week before and enjoy sharing our family stories. On one occasion, I arrived and she let me know straight away that I should probably go home because she was feeling under the weather. I offered to make a cup of tea and sit with her whilst she watched ‘Good Morning.’ After me rambling on about myself (which I despise doing) I noticed she was briefly smiling and eventually became perky. After an hour or so she explained that she was feeling much better now and just having someone to talk to really calmed her down and made her feel happy.
This experience really highlighted to me the importance of having a companion. Many people will be lonely or sad or feel down on a daily basis purely because they don’t have anyone to talk to. Some people may shy away from having a companionship service or be embarrassed to ask for it. However, I think companionship needs to be addressed more by families. It’s no shame or hindrance to talk to someone about being lonely or depressed. Mental health is a huge issue. As proved from my personal experience with the client, having a companion for a few hours a day or a week really keeps the blues at bay. A cup of tea and a conversation can be the difference between someone having a good or bad day.
From my journey so far with The Care Collection, I’ve learnt care can be an emotional, mental and physical challenge for the carer. We as carers are putting ourselves forward to be trusted with the well-being of another person. But, it is a career which offers more job satisfaction than I could ever imagine and I am loving every minute. I genuinely look forward to each client visit. What a fantastic and rewarding experience, for everyone involved!