As we go into to a second lockdown and social care staff are working hard to get through each day and stay safe. I want to share my life as someone who had worked within social care for 33 years in some type of roll.
Think it’s a great time for reflection. As a lay here with music playing in my ear I wonder what working in care has taught me.
I would say just the word ‘lots’ but what does that mean and to be fair that doesn’t make for a very good blog post.
Here I go:
Working as a support worker with people with learning difficulties ensured I was always prepared for the day to not go to plan. Rarely did the days fit into perfect little boxes. Working in care taught me to be ready for the unpredictable. There is no element of exaggeration when I tell you that you needed to be prepared for something to come flying across the room or need to prepare your ears for someone screaming constantly for an hour (all because she felt it was to early for someone to go to bed). It taught me to rely on a team and when you had a team that flowed it was so much better but one snag was when you had people that arrived who just didn’t play the team card, not even sure they knew the impact they had on all. It taught me to push for better from the team. It taught me to choose my battles wisely (something I think about in my personal life).
Social care taught me to not take things for granted and that life could be so fragile. We as team members could deal with death or at least have the ‘normal’ emotional response because we could debrief things within our minds but for the people we supported they dealt with death very differently and sometimes matter of fact like (which in some way I wished I could do) . There was a sense of ‘ok lets move on and in the next breathe they would ask who is moving in now’. I suppose that is how it appeared to them as someone else always moved into the bedroom and the last persons items would disappear. Sadly the need for places to live for individuals meant that sometimes people moved in within a week. It taught me about bereavement, it prepared me to cope better with death. In fact it taught me to understand about the focus on people having a good death. The lesson here is to realise that planning what you want allows control right to the individuals last moments. It has to be something we strive for as it allows someone to feel that all their ducks are in a line.
Social care taught me that not all want care, not all want support, not all like support it also taught me never to judge as unless you have walked in someones shoes you don’t know ‘the why’ or ‘the how’.
We are taught to encourage independence as much as possible ‘active participation’, ‘person centred’ but what is it really and lets be honest what is the reality at times. The reality is social care is underfunded and this can mean barriers are in place that prevents full person centred care . There are however some of us regardless of funds we will try our upmost to empower. Empowerment is key and definitely social care has taught me silence maybe golden but sometimes it’s dangerous. The confidence to be heard is something we must keep striving for and that my readers is what I will continue to do. Part 2 may arrive it may not but social care is in need of you. You will learn so much as I did. You will realise that life is not a perfect journey that has a schedule. It will teach you acceptance, tolerance, fairness, compassion and this can not given a price. Invaluable.
What’s beyond the rainbow