Caring at Christmas – Why I became a Live in Carer
Christmas can be a very tough time of year for people. Especially for those living alone. Some may have mobility restrictions and limited opportunity to get out of the house. One of the key benefits of opting for live in care at Christmas is knowing that a loved one has company and is not lonely. A Christmas live-in carer can also minimise the chance of someone having a fall or sustaining some other injury and being unable to summon help. Plus, a Christmas live in carer is on hand to pop into town to collect medications or shopping, to play a game of scrabble or just be a companion during the winter evenings.
I decided to be a care worker when my grandfather was diagnosed with dementia. I wanted to find out how I could help him and shortly started work as care assistant in a Dementia Nursing Home. For the first few days I did not realise what great a task I had taken on. I was a new carer and it was my first experience caring for those with dementia. Many of the people at this nursing home were in the advanced stages of dementia. Many were bedridden and could not speak, eat alone, or use the toilet. After several days of hard work I empathised greatly for these people.
I tried to do as much as I could to make the people in this nursing home feel good, comfortable and special in their day-to-day life. I learned to listen to people, to be patient, humility and how to be supportive. These features were useful to me also in my private life. I realised how important life is and to look at the bigger picture. Every smile, eye contact, touch, gesture, conversation-verbal or non-verbal communication were important and I enjoyed being a part of these people’s lives.
After some time I began to become frustrated with the management of this home. It seemed to me that the nursing home did not have enough staff in relation to the residents. I felt as though I was not enough and wanted to provide better care to individuals and so I decided to apply for live in care.
I started to work as a live in carer not long ago but I am loving it already. I can focus on helping a specific person at 100%. Looking after one person is easier with providing companionship and support. You can really get to know somebody and what makes them happy. I think that sharing quality time with an understanding and caring friend is both comforting and therapeutic.
My only advise to a new live in carer would be to remember that each person is unique, with their own life history, personality, likes and dislikes. It is very important to focus on what the person still does have, not on what they may have lost. It is also important to focus on what the person feels to make them happy and comfortable.
At Christmas, we can help organise meeting up with other family members at a local restaurant, popping round for tea and cake or perhaps organising a festive film viewing. Being a Carer at Christmas is busy but we are there to help. I often help with Christmas shopping, wrapping presents and decorating the home or Christmas Tree together.
I am currently caring for a lovely 31 year old lady. She has Cerebral Palsy which in her circumstance has lead to an inability to control muscles, movements and posture. This means she requires personal assistance to help her to stay at home.
My client is very independent on a daily basis. She enjoys a full social life, she loves shopping, movies and guinea pigs. She uses a power chair to get around and a Rotor stand for all transfers. In the morning add evening, I help her get in and out of bed, get washed and dressed and do her hair. During the day I help with the cooking and cleaning. Three days a week, she volunteers and I’ll drive her to and from from work. She also has four guinea pigs to look after. They are so cute.
For me my client is someone I look up to. She lives her life with great character and an interesting personality. She is trying to do everything by herself. She has a strong will, really takes care of herself and is mindful of her diet, which she keeps stubbornly.
My client agrees that live in care has made a massive difference to her life, not just through living in her own home, but by allowing her to retain her independence.
I am very glad that I can help someone to feel better, this gives me great pleasure. I feel needed.