Every day is different – A day in the life of a support worker and carer
Ever wondered what it takes to be a Support Worker with a disability charity? For Marita, working in social care means job satisfaction, variety – and dancing to the Spice Girls. Read a ‘day in the life’ about Marita, a Livability support worker in the East Midlands.
Tell us about yourself
I’m Marita, I have two grown-up children and I’ve lived in Brackley in Northamptonshire all my life.
How long have you been a support worker?
I worked in a nursery for a very happy 20 years, but when it closed, I was unsure of what I’d like to do next. I just knew it had to be rewarding. I’ve worked with Livability for over two years.
What’s a normal day like for you?
Well, every day is different, you never know what the day will bring! That’s what makes it so exciting. I generally visit people who need support at home so they can be part of their community. I encourage them to be independent and support their everyday routines.
What kind of needs do the people you work with have?
They have a variety of needs. Some have anxiety problems so I support them on outings and social activities. I use strategies to help relieve anxiety – Livability has trained me to do this.
I support people with learning disabilities; this might be helping with housework, cooking or paying bills. I have supported customers with different stages of dementia. Livability provided excellent training that enabled me to provide the appropriate care. A lot of people with dementia need reassurance and easy to understand forms of communication.
How do you view your contact with the people you support?
Forming close relationships is so important because this enables me to identify how the individual is feeling. When I know them, I can read their body language and distinguish likes and dislikes.
Give us an example of how you might do that
I work with one lady who’s not so keen on housework (at home, neither am I really!) so we put on a CD and dance to the Spice Girls whilst we clean. This turns the chore into a fun activity and also keeps us fit.
What have you learned from working with Livability?
I have learned that everyone is unique and what might work for one person doesn’t mean it will work for another person. When everyone is given the right support, they can achieve much more than they imagine and live more independently.
Have you found any of your work particularly rewarding?
I recently supported a lady in an end of life situation. I had built a close relationship with her.
How did you approach this challenge?
Support from my managers and colleagues and doing a bereavement course all helped me to continue to work in a professional way, even though it was a difficult situation. I knew I was providing appropriate care for this wonderful lady and her loving family.
How do you view that experience now?
I feel assured that I did everything I possibly could to make sure this lady was cared for in a sensitive and compassionate way. The most important things were to ensure she was comfortable and provided with the dignity and respect she deserved. At this very difficult time, I was mindful of what the family were going through. I was there for them if they needed to talk but was aware of knowing when to take a step back.
What’s the best thing about your job?
The most important thing for me is being patient, caring and ensuring everyone is happy with the care they are receiving. That’s job satisfaction for me. Other staff and my managers are always supportive and offer great expertise and advice on any issues I’m unsure of.