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Home Care Work - what’s it like?(9 Posts)
Ex SEN teacher. Just been made redundant from an admin job. Neither the pandemic nor the recession will persuade me back into the classroom.
I had been looking after my Mum and Dad. No intimate personal care. I find a caring/compassionate role really satisfying.
What’s the reality. Know it’s a tough industry so not an easy option.
What was it like taking on intimate care for a person?
Not a carer myself but I've spoken to my Mum's home carers a lot as has she... I think it's a really tough job and certainly not well rewarded either in monetary terms or gratitude/appreciation (carers work just as hard as nurses IMO, long hours and hard physical graft, lots of travel/driving around unlike most nurses, and they don't get anything like the love and respect - not saying nurses are universally appreciated either mind!)
That being said I do think if you are the right kind of person and in the right job it can be really rewarding. It's vital you are with a good agency who will support and train you properly (times are very tough, local authorities have been forced to cut social care budgets to a bare minimum so all care agencies are really hard pushed to turn a profit or even stay sustainable, but within that there are those that do their level best with what they have and recognise how important their staff are, and there are those that do everything possible to squeeze every last penny's worth of labour from their staff and don't care much about whether people including their own clients suffer in the process, IYSWIM? Ask around your local area and talk to staff/clients and you'll get an idea which are which pretty quickly!
The personal/intimate care elements I think actually most people get used to pretty quickly (providing you aren't an unduly squeamish person) and weirdly I think it's somehow easier doing care as a job for a client rather than for your own relatives as you can take a lot of the emotion out of it and maintain a level of kindly/compassionate detachment! I think what a lot of carers find harder is either when the clients they get attached to are ill, suffering, lonely or sad or in bad living situations and they can't do much to help (particularly given aforementioned budgetary constraints which might mean you are limited to seeing them in a few 15 minute chunks per day), or ultimately when clients pass away which is really tough. Or the other things which is hard in other cases is where the carers are not treated with much respect or kindness by the client or the client's family - sadly I have heard stories of carers being verbally abused, unjustly accused of theft or abuse themselves or even physically assaulted . Sometimes this can be a side effect of the client's dementia/confusion or sometimes people are just arseholes esp to women (most carers are women, sorry if you are not but same can apply to men too!) in domestic/caring/subordinate type roles...
All in all you might love it and find it totally fulfilling, and ultimately I don't think the training period is too much of a commitment/lengthy so providing you go into it with eyes open why not give it a try?! The other thing you could look into is a job in a care home, although that may mean working with sicker residents and different pressures, at least you have other people/staff around for support? Sometimes there can be more opportunities for training and career progression in a home environment than dom. care also?
Have you considered caring for children OP.
I'm a supprt worker for a disabled child and it's so rewarding.
@maxelly - thanks for your thought provoking response. Your observations have removed the sentimentality from the idea.
@SouthCoastShell - A good alternative but I want to avoid schools
Thank you both
I don't work in a school OP I care for him in his own home .
Honestly ? It’s very hard work for little pay or respect. You will incur high car costs in fuel and requiring business insurance - necessary as you may have to take clients to appointments etc. Why not look at assisted or supported living care work with young adults?
It can be a very rewarding job if you have the right mind set. The intimate care side you quickly become accustomed to the harder part is the emotional side when you get glimpses of how a person was before they needed care. The important part is you’re matter of fact on one hand but incredibly sensitive to that person on the other.
I’m a carer in a care home. You get used to the personal care, it doesn’t bother me at all now. However if you are thinking of being a carer I know a lot of people who have been home carers and have moved to care homes instead because of the cost of petrol and not getting paid for some of the travel and if a client cancels they were waiting around for ages and not being paid for that again
I think with your background you might look towards a supported living establishment for adults with learning disabilities.
As a general support worker you would be expected to assist with personal care - it's awkward to start with but you soon build up a rapport with your PWS (people we support) and get to know how they like things done. The other personal aspect is helping with mealtimes but again,you build knowledge and experience. In supported living, there's quite a breadth of different duties - you could be out shopping for clothes with one client, or having a picnic on the beach the next day, accompanying to a health appointment or facilitating a family visit the next week. Or simply being there when they are having a hard time. Hours are very flexible but our full timers work 37.5hrs a week. At the moment, we have a few staff doing 16 hrs a week due to childcare issues, but most are somewhere in between. Our place is staffed 24/7 but we have dedicated night staff.
Most companies have their own training programmes and this is combination of classes and online to get your care certificate.
Where I think you may find an interest is in the non-healthcare therapy roles. We have gardening therapy, art therapy, music therapy, woodwork, and sensory therapy on site. We have storytelling sessions (including sensory stories), pamper sessions, quizzes. It all takes imagination and planning. Our therapy people come from very different backgrounds and work perhaps 4 days 9-4. They are really important people in the lives of our PWS, probably more so than me who just does the boring stuff.
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