To be in the care industry you need to wear many hats.
What makes a good carer? How do you choose a ‘good’ agency?
If you ask Google, one word comes up consistently.
I recently saw an example of someone who definitely would fail the interview if he were to apply for a carer’s position.
A male driver of the shuttle bus at Nice airport, calling after an elderly Asian woman…Imbecile! It made me shudder.
Her crime was simply to ask ( in English, so annoyance #1) That is the tram? (pointing at the tram) and this is a bus? (pointing at the shuttle bus)
I would like to see him navigate another language or two in a strange place and probably after a long journey. Not to mention she was probably three times his age.
Back to Google and their carers and agencies ‘must haves’.
Respectful. Indeed, that has to be pretty high on the list.
Compassionate and patient.
I still use the ‘how would I feel in your shoes’ mantra in my head before making an unnecessary comment.
For me, this happens mainly during the news.
When I used to run a hairdressing salon, many moons ago, politics and religion were non-starters if you wanted return clients.
The same applies in the client’s home.
You have to change the subject or disappear down a long and winding rabbit hole.
Although I thought compassion and empathy would be pretty much top of the list of requirements I was a little surprised to see passion as #1 with some reviews.
Is the care agency you are considering passionate about what they do?
Fair question, when you think about it.
There are, after all, a million other ways of earning a living.
As with anything in life any outcome, whether it is work or not, will be shaped by its original intent.
Care and Choice staff have always been passionate about making a difference.
Making a positive difference in the lives of people who for one reason or another have become vulnerable and need help.
Care agencies have clients and carers but some go the extra mile to match the two.
Not an exact science as even the experts on the Married at First Sight series have to admit but when it works, it works!
As I was researching information for this blog, I found one article that listed ‘bubbly’ as a carer requirement.
Hmm. Possibly, but certainly not something all clients would require.
In fact many years ago, a client, in all seriousness (pun intended) told me.
You really are not suited to this job at all. You’re far too cheerful!
I don’t recall the woman exactly but imagine the character that Maggie Smith plays in Downton Abbey…Yep, just like that.
So, I toned ‘me down’ so to speak. After all, I was there to help her and not annoy her.
Something I do think is important is focus.
I prefer to do shorter stints of live-in care work these days as I like to give 100% or as near as possible.
I imagine for a lot of carers their family or home life will always be on or at the back of their minds.
For me, it’s the fact that I have another brilliant idea for a book ( 43 titles pending) and I get frustrated if I can only jot down a few notes at a time so I try to be unproductive, writing wise so I can focus on making my time with my client about them. (All 7 current books available on amazon.com/co.uk.)
And here is where the passion comes in.
As some say, the opposite to love is not hate but indifference,
So the opposite to passion for your job is doing something to pay the bills.
That comes into it but I had a good example of this very recently.
I have a wonderful, kind, gentle and patient dentist.
She is simply passionate about her profession.
She once said, when she had a back problem…I have to get better, dentistry is my life.
It is her passion.
Her current assistant/nurse, not so much.
Whilst waiting for me to go numb ( just part of my mouth, of course) we, the nurse and I, talked about pensions and how they are simply not enough to live on.
So, both of us are already at retirement age and still working. Far from ideal.
Without going into detail the next hour became fraught as the dedicated/perfectionist dentist repeatedly needed to ask her assistant to focus…on me!
I didn’t understand everything that was said ( in French) but the body language spoke volumes!
And then it hit me.
An absolute example of working without passion. Needs must and all that.
It’s one thing to be knowledgeable about a profession but when your heart isn’t it, it shows.
I also have to admit that although helping people is my number one reason for doing care work, I also love visiting new places, especially if I get a chance to go back during the changing seasons.
March to September in West Sussex.
So…October, the month of change.
Autumn approaches, clocks go back and new colours arrive.
For many adults, the biggest change in their lives will be the moment they can no longer live alone. As children we very rarely get a say in what happens to us and sometimes if dementia is diagnosed, life can turn full circle.
A good, respectful care agency knows all this.
Excellent carers will have endless compassion, empathy, kindness, not quick to judge and willing to be flexible in another’s world.
So whenever you look for carers and agencies, personal recommendations are usually the best source of reliable information.
Of course, experience can be paramount but also, a young recruit with passion maybe better than a retiree watching the clock.