So you all know about my Dad AKA Grumpy, well he continues to go through the journey that is Alzheimer’s and the progress within this cruel and unforgiving disease (yes a disease not a normal part of ageing). So as a family we are now realising the importance of making memories and today was one of the days that my niece managed to make one and video the evidence for us. She captured her daughter and us all a memory that previously his grandchildren have and now great grandchildren may still have time to make. So it was great to see a video of Dad with his great granddaughter stood on his wheelchair has he drives it into the house. He actually looked like he used to be and do you know what it made me think we need to grab those memories and just store them to share with those that come after us or are to young to remember. So log it and keep it, enjoy looking back, value who your person is and don’t just see the condition. Remember they are who they were just a little buried under all the chaos that is Alzheimer’s. Its a short blog today but honestly it is so important to remember and save those moments and love them. Just take a moment and sit back and remember the person in front of you. SEE THEM!
Recruitment and retention within Social care.
All of us who work in social care know that there is major issues of recruitment and retention of staff. Which will have a knock on affect to people that are vulnerable being able to access good quality care. I have to say I am concerned. As an individual I have worked within the care field since I was 18 so for 29 years this has been my career.
However, when I was a manager within a learning disability supported living home and it was never overly difficult to employ in fact I remember interviewing a number of people for a role. Which meant I could make an informed choice of who suited the service best. It seems to have changed, I asked one of my level 5 learners the other day how do they choose between people when interviewing and the reply was ‘never had to as not had more then one person come for the job’. I asked about why this is and she said that they do not get an influx of applications and therefore not many for interviews.
I am concerned that if we do not promote care as a career choice we are going to be in a situation where we either start employing people that are not suitable or we are in a crisis mode.
I can honestly say care does consume my life, I think and discuss care regularly (sometimes I am very one-sided ). I check out the up and coming ideas from people taking vulnerable people into their own homes (jury is out on this), using technology to alleviate need to go into care home or to reduce the work for care workers. I understand use of technology and how it support mobility safety and sensory loss but reducing work load on carers not so sure. However, its something we are now having to look at, alternatives requiring care from a provider, checking out if a pieces of equipment can do it for us. Technology however, should never remove the need to see a person and to have social contact.
I am going to keep looking into staffing in social care and see what resources are out there, I am going to look at how some companies manage great staff retention and others don’t. I think we need to know look at how we are going to get moving on the next generation of care workers.
So watch this space I will continue to check things that are going on and share with you. Please feel free to check out the links as these are some places I have already put up information on.
Brainstorming? Does it work?
Process for generating creative ideas and solutions through intensive discussion and processing information that is within your mind. Normally group participation but the question is can you then not do brainstorming alone?
Well I am Attention to Care at the moment it is just me and its my business that I am nurturing and trying to grow so its down to me and my mind to brainstorm. So I have been brainstorming (well that’s what I am calling it) I have encouraged myself to think aloud and suggest as many ideas as possible, no matter seemingly how outlandish or bizarre. Don’t get me wrong as I am doing alone there would be no challenges and disagreements but there is in my own thoughts. I am using the sticky note method laid on my mini desk just words and ideas including things to do. As you can see there are many things that need to be thought about. It got me thinking doing this and how others may generate their ideas if they are the business if it is just you.
Attention to Care is a business to train care staff at all levels and its about ensuring I meet the needs of each service in a unique way but what I need to do is get the name out there hence my brainstorming session all alone.
So to clarify this blog today is to try to find out what people do when they are in business alone to generate and analyse their ideas. Also, is Brainstorming only good as a group. Come on and tell me what you do please, I need inspiration and need to know how to get the ideas out and in a way that can be monitored.
I could go on and on about being a care worker, which I was for 20+ years I could use lots of language that may upset my potential customers. So, I am going to try not to swear to much but apologies if one drops in now again.
Care is still what drives me to do what I do. I hope to ensure who I meet will be great at supporting people who are classed as vulnerable and require care. We should share our experiences it’s an amazing but bloody hard job. It’s not valued as much as it should be, and it needs to be. I hear so often about poor staff retention and not being able to fill positions there has to be a reason for this and its time to do some work on finding out why.
I was a young 18-year-old when I first moved to Cambridge on my own for a job in social care. It was my ambition to work in care from when I was 14 and so I went to college for 2 years and then got my first care job in Cambridge. I remember the interview and there were quite a few candidates but was so pleased when I go the job. I moved from home on my own and started my career in care. Part one tells you about my experiences of the first day.
I loved it even though it was so time consuming. I found myself just going in and getting on with empowering the people I supported. I would ensure they knew I was there to support and enable at times with some interesting and noisy outcomes. I wouldn’t say it was all fun there were moment when I was younger where I struggled with my own ability to speak up and stand up for people.
I made a choice at 20 to have children and left the company for 5 years going back a very different person. I had grown as an individual and seemed more able to speak up and I did which meant I was able to be brave enough to speak up about a poor manager. That changed the lives of the people I was supporting in such a positive way but had a positive effect on me also.
I have had the honour of supporting people who have learning disabilities to develop and achieve independence as many levels and I value my input and the input that the people have had that I worked with over the years. I was lucky enough to work for a company that had many supported living homes on one site within a small village. we were a tight knit team and would ensure that there was full social inclusion both between the support living homes and the local community.
The growth in the people I supported is what drove me to continue and to then go onto become a Senior to deputy manager to a registered manager. I saw every level as a step to my ambition of being a manager that could make a difference. I had an amazing team of young and older people who were committed to providing a support service that was focused on people being a valued member of the community. We did that, we did somethings that were new and never achieved before. We sometimes think we can support people to the end of life, but this is not always the case, if someone reaches 65 and still in supported living at one point they would have been transferred to the ‘older persons team and potentially moved to an elderly residential home. Which was not in my opinion the best option. So, we worked hard to ensure the people we supported had a home for life. I had a great team to work with. We changed the registration and ensured we had the staffing levels and equipment to ensure we could meet the needs. So, we did it we ensure that if someone was unwell and at end of life we enabled them to stay and die in their own home. I have to say that being with the persons family and support them was very valuable. I was able to see someone be settled with loved ones around them. I remember on person we supported and being with the family after he died and the family saying ‘mother always said he would be a tall man in death’ the person we supported had scoleosis but when he died his family found comfort in seeing him that way. It was one of my best achievements in my career and will always stay with me.
All these journeys that we go through are as important as each other. (think I might be waffling). As carers/trainers/managers etc we have an impact in all we do so for those days that are hard look back and remember the good ones.
So now that I am training I use all the experience I have had. All the noises and colours of living to ensure the training is interesting and honest. Training for me is about reality of life and living well with the support of people who want to enable you.
If people have read some of my blogs in recent times you will know my Mother is the carer for my father who has many health conditions including a recent diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Last night at 9pm he showed signs of being unwell and needed some medical attention. My mother is 70 years old and she wakes every day at 5:30am – sometimes even after not having a good night sleep. Since the diagnosis, dad can get unsettled and have some obsessions.
After making the first call at 9am it took until 2am for medical attention to arrive at their home (not a complaint as it was a busy night for the services), so by time dad was taken in and settled they did not leave the hospital until 6am. As you’ve probably realised, this is over 24 hours since my mother woke up – over 24 hours without sleep, for a 70 year old. She never once complained once though, she just got on with it and took it all in her stride – because that’s who she is.
My mother (who at this point had my sister, Joanna with her) had been awake over 24 hours. So as I write this I am hoping she is sleeping and hope that my dad is being looked after well by any nurses or doctors. We have as usual all come together to support and make sure she has someone with her and we are thankful for the family we have.
My mother will wake and just continue.
She is a carer, but, ultimately, she is a wife who loves her husband and who wants him to be safe, well and have a meaningful life – a meaningful life with her. So she finds the strength to carry on being the best carer that she is, every single day.
So, from all us groupies and all the others in our mad, slightly odd and special family, we appreciate you and what you do mum. We love you and thank you for showing us what love is and how we should care and love through adversity.
I would personally like to thank Joanna for staying with you and making sure you drove ok (terrible back seat driver).
So today, anyone out there who is a carer of a loved one, know that we are grateful, we value your courage and strength. We know you won’t ask for help but know the help is there. Know that we see your tiredness and hear your weariness. We know its bloody hard, it’s frustrating and sometimes it’s like being in a nightmare. We know you do this because you love and you feel you must to do what is best for yur family – you need to know your loved one is safe and cared for after all.
You do what you do so well that we are all in awe of you. We all hope that we will grow in our own strength. We know you are the role model. If we could, we would bottle who you are, so we could share it around to all who are vulnerable so everyone gets equal quality care. You are who should be training our carers of today, you are the training material we need. YOU ARE THE REALITY OF CARE AND CARING.
The name of a small family group which was set up to chat and keep each other informed regarding my father (AKA GRUMPY). My mother set up the group (she has become a great user of facebook sometimes embarrassingly) she though it would be good to be able to let us know to be aware when she needs a nap in the day and so the idea was to post things like bad night so phone silence. Or grumpy not great today, etc etc. So all about gumpy.
Well interestingly its sort of turned into a group of women discussing life, issue, concerns, comfort, love and honestly. Well sort of but in reality its got gossip, good news stories, current affairs, just basic bitching and offloading of being a parent at times for some. I should say but if of the sensitive nature you maybe offended with some of the language and discussions I am going to share with you.
Oh with some of the members they have learnt how to add GIF’s and the joy of that can be that a whole evening communication is just through the art of GIPH’s its a GIPH OFF.
So as the start:
So all in all not a bad start within a group know check how Grumpy is and check how Mum/Grandma is dealing with things and if we can be of morale support.
However, here is the opposite to what the start was:
Now I know the language and content is terrible and I can only appologies, I will be sharing more and they will make your hair curl but do you know what this is my mothers life line.
We were able to respond at the weekend quickly when mum posted a video on how Grumpy was so confused and unwell it meant that she got people round to help quickly and to support her to call for assistance and get medical attention for Grumpy. So here is how it helps:
No Grumpy is home with a camera in his bedroom for mum to keep and eye on him. We managed to keep everyone informed and it worked.
So I will share more insights at a later date, but on a serious note, remember to check on each other support the person who has to support their loved one 24/7. Remember they need to be able to laugh through the hard times and realise life goes on even when thing are hard. Everyone one needs to be given a laugh and at the moment the Grumpy’s groupies are full on with the messages today to the point I am struggling to get my work done.
So enjoy the snippets as I say there are more and here are the ones from today:
My family support group we look after each other. Sort of
Pleased to have been and enjoyed a walk aroung Anglesey Abbey, loving the colours that are still vibrant and some surprising flowers still hanging in there but also some that are just sprouting. Loved the walk still no closer to a decision on the blog but some lovely chances to take a few photos.
Hope you enjoy browsing.
I was in the process of writing my blogs when a question from a conversation I had had with my mother that morning crossed my mind.
That question was – Quality of life, what does it mean to people?
During the conversation with my mother we spoke about my fathers’ current health and his recovery after a recent bout of pneumonia, which then led to diagnosis of emphysema. I should add at this stage that he has also got Alzheimer’s.
Currently he is taking a medication for his Alzheimer’s, as well as steroids to help his lungs. This combination of medicine, my mother has explained to me, has made my father more awake, engaged in TV and films and less confused.
However, she is concerned that since today is the last day of his steroids, he will decline again and she will end up rushing back and forth to hospital.
So I said then maybe they should look at giving the steroids full time if he does go downhill; as quality of life is so important.
My family knows that my dad will deteriorate, and know what to expect. We will ensure that his choice are respected, and that we all love him as we always have.
Yet, whilst we must ensure that he has quality of life, we must never forget that my mother (his main carer) is entitled to her own quality of life.
Of course she is happy he seems much more aware and awake, but it has impacted on her ‘quiet time’ as she calls it. In the past she would assist dad to bed and then have time for herself to surf the net, embarrass us on Facebook and to watch ‘Hollyoaks’ but at the moment she isn’t having that. She confided in me that she was feeling Guilty about feeling Selfish for wanting her ‘quiet time’
But do you know what she isn’t selfish and she has every right to have a Quality of life also.
As a loving, and caring, carer, who looks after her Husband each and every hour, of each and everyday. She should not feel selfish, if her ‘quite time’ is disturbed.
It’s this ‘quite time’ that enables her to recharge her batteries, have a bit of ‘Me Time’, and is vital for her own well being, health and mental health.
It is critically important that she is able to communicate her thoughts and feelings and not be judged, but instead be listened to and supported.
I believe quality of life is key to my dads and mums continued happiness. My mum will ensure my dads quality of life, my family must support and listen to my mother to make sure that she has her.
That support is vital to all carers in this world.
Don’t forget to care for the carer. Don’t let them silently blend into the background.
So in conclusion I feel quality of life to me is about:
• Maintaining identity: ‘See who I am!’
• Sharing decision-making: ‘Involve me!’
• Creating community: ‘Connect with me!’
For both the person who is being cared for and the carer
Let me know what you think? Share your understanding please.
So I have done it, I have commenced my own business called Attention to Care which is a Health and Social Care training company based in Cambridgeshire area.
I have a lovely website that is still in the process of being changed and altered, a face book page and business cards on the way (second time lucky as I missed the ‘n’ off).
Well I have worked within care for 28 years in some role whether support worker, manager or trainer/assessor I still see approaches that could potentially place people at risk. So I want to educate, value and nurture the carers/managers/employers to enable them to provide the ‘best’ service they can to vulnerable people. The way I know I can do that is deliver, bespoke and best quality training I possibly can.
Its been a while since I posted and a lot has happened, my father has been unwell and recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Emphysema. Which is rather a big deal and I am very aware that even though I deliver Dementia Training that I have to be just a daughter and sister when speaking to my family as I don’t want to be the one that has to inform them of everything as otherwise I believe it changes my relationship. Don’t think though that I don’t talk about it and support my family with information they need I just don’t speak like I am training.
This is a brief blog but will try to now get more completed and find resources to share on my blogs to try to support you carers out there.
Please check out my site and please share.
So this week has been one of those weeks that have caused stress and unrest within my world of work. I am freelance assessor within the care field and this weeks the company I freelance for may now need to change. It has implications as there is no guarantee the new company will want a freelance assessor so things are a little up in the air.
So what have a been doing to ensure work continues and I earn a living, well firstly I have kicked myself up the arse and pushed for my training to be fully completed with induction and moving and handling so I can go in to companies and train correct practice. I’ve been ensuring all my learners will be ok if I can not continue (I would be gutted). I have been organising the next couple of weeks to ensure I am on target and prepared to move forward.
Saturday I went to an open event at a new care home/nursing home where I chatted to some of the family and clients about why I value care and I loved it just promoting care and training. I met Gloria Hunniford (didn’t feel right to get a selfie).
Sunday arrives (Mother’s Day). My children as alway give me beautiful cards (daughter as always sorted the boys) and flowers. I then spent the day appreciating what I have the sun helped and my wonderful husband to be. Sat relaxing in the garden just chilling looking at our garden and realising how much work we have put in. It was so perfect, birds flitting in and out of the garden and the daffodils swaying in the breeze. The aroma of a roast dinner being cooked by my daughter and a glass of vino. I realised in that moment I am so lucky. I have children I am very proud of, a husband to be who loves me for me and a bright future ahead. Simplicity is sometimes best and as my man would say ‘simples’.
So the point to this was to try to get all to see that sometime ‘simples’ is enough and that if today you are missing your mum, whether due to them not being here anymore or if they are lost in the world of Dementia they will always be you mum, mummy, mother not your best friend your mum the one who either carried you or chose you, they are mums.
Mums come in all shapes and all sizes. They can be mothers, grandmother, aunts, sisters, friends or they can be Dads doing a mums role as well as their own. So please just take a moment to appreciate what you have, had or even what you are going to have.
Happy Mother’s Day one and all. But bigger then that don’t wait just for Mother’s Day to appreciate your ‘mother’ any day is ok to just say thank you.