My passion for caring for older people

I have been working as a Care Professional for Home Instead for just over a year now, but my passion for wanting to pursue a career in care began a long time ago.

We recently caught up with one of our Care Professionals to understand more about her experience of the role and what it’s like working for Home Instead…

I have been working as a Care Professional for Home Instead for just over a year now, but my passion for wanting to pursue a career in care began a long time ago.

As a teenager growing up in my native Poland, I would regularly visit and help at a local care home, and soon became fascinated by the relationship between those needing care and the carers who provided help and support. Having now lived in the UK for over 7 years, I am so pleased to be part of the Home Instead family.

Finding Home Instead

Knowing I wanted to work with older people needing care, my search led me to Home Instead. I saw the Care Professional position advertised and knew straight away I had to apply. It was exactly the job I was looking for – not just due to the nature of the role being in care, but because of the qualities and values that Home Instead were seeking in a desired candidate. The advert really spoke to me, it almost felt too good to be true! I applied right away.

When I was given the opportunity to meet some of the Home Instead team, my compatibility to the organisation was further confirmed. Everything from how the team compassionately talked about those in their care to the relationship-led approach they looked for in their Care Professionals, was exactly what I was looking for and it felt like the perfect fit.

What’s it like being a Care Professional ?

Home Instead’s award-winning quality care naturally means that each Care Professional is fully trained in the care which they provide, including any specialist support such as dementia care. After all, every client has a completely different set of requirements and so has a unique care plan created for them that reflects these needs. Personal care requirements are also fundamental to client matching; you’re only introduced as a Care Professional to clients with whom you’ll be a good fit, who you’ll get along with and stand a good chance at building a positive one-to-one relationship.

People may think being a Care Professional is easy, but it’s not as straightforward as you might assume. As well as providing practical help, we are also responsible for the emotional wellbeing of those in our care. It’s much more than physically being by someone’s side. Home Instead really understand this; of course, you need to be a qualified carer, but it is also vital that you have the individual personal qualities to complete the package.

I continue to be excited about my work and I love my job as a Home Instead Care Professional. I enjoy the company of the older people I care for and feel privileged to spend time talking with them and hearing their stories. The whole Home Instead family is so respectful of the Care Professional team; we are listened to and genuinely supported in our role with whatever we need. It makes for a very approachable and friendly environment in which to work.

“My ladies”

At the moment I look after several elderly women requiring different levels of care. I call them “my ladies”.

For me personally – and I believe for lots of my colleagues too – those I care for are like friends now. They are happy and pleased to see me, to share a cup of tea and a chat together, to be on hand to support with a short outing or to help with whatever might be required.

Of course, those I look after who have specialist care needs, such as dementia, require me to respond differently at times. It’s so important as a Care Professional to be able to be compassionate and sensitive to clients with a range of needs, and to recognise the best approach to care for different individuals in different scenarios.

Specialising in dementia care

I am passionate about looking after older people requiring care in general, but particularly so those suffering from dementia, as an area of care in which to specialise.

Home Instead has provided me with so much additional training when it comes to caring for dementia patients. And I have more courses planned to further strengthen my care capabilities in this field. As a company, Home Instead is always looking for ways in which to build on their existing understanding and care for dementia sufferers.

One of the ways in which Home Instead already support dementia clients is through our free to attend Memory Club, where we help those in our care to take part in different activities known to help engage those living with dementia. As with our home visits, the emphasis at Memory Club is on shared time together in a relaxed and open environment.

One of my Care Professional colleagues, for example, is naturally great at creating quizzes, and I’ve been able to use my fitness experience (I run exercise classes alongside my Care Professional role) to lead some adapted classes at the club. The elderly people in our care really love the classes, it builds their confidence and is hugely looked forward to each week. Memory Club is a big meeting of likeminded friends, benefiting from valued shared experiences. Only the other day, one of my ladies was asking when the group will be able to start up again! On a personal level, it’s been so fulfilling to find two worlds that can blend and benefit one another.

Tell me more about the care capabilities you provide

All Home Instead care is provided as one-to-one care, with the amount of time I spend with each client varying depending on their care needs. A client’s family help hugely to determine and decide how much or how little care is needed. Other elements including grocery shopping needs, time spent outside and maintaining regular appointments, are all considered.

We can also adjust care specifics after a few initial visits having better got to know an individual, all the time whilst ensuring we maintain regular contact with the family.

Part of our role is to be able to observe and identify quickly should someone’s needs change, and then be able to respond by adapting quickly to that changing need.

It’s a very important role that goes far beyond the requirements of making tea and helping provide medication. Ultimately, we can make a real difference to the overall quality of life to those in our care.

What’s the hardest part of your job?

Working in care, it’s impossible to think that the more challenging days won’t affect you. But this is our job! I have learnt to accept this, it’s part of what you take on when you look after someone, to give the very best care to your client for them and their family. And I am absolutely dedicated to the elderly people I look after.

Of course, things happen that can be upsetting at times, but I find I have a lot of patience for older people that really helps and means I am not fazed very often. They have such interesting stories and life experiences, making them great company to be around. Really, they are often incredibly positive and full of life and extremely glad of the company, to have someone to talk to and listen.

I see it in the fitness classes I run; the younger generations who come to my classes don’t generally have the same appreciation for life and positivity that their senior counterparts have. When I think back to working in the care home in Poland, I learnt that most of the residents were so very lonely there. They were without their families, yet at the same time were mostly positive with no hidden agenda, just appreciative and happy to be in your company.

How have things changed during the Covid-19 outbreak?

All Care Professionals had no choice but to reduce their hours worked and limit the number of clients we saw each day to reduce risk of infection and spread of the virus.

It meant I was no longer able to be around and care for my more vulnerable clients, those with underlying health conditions. Fundamentally it was about limiting risks by modifying existing care plans for those who continued in our care, always taking our lead from families who had the final say.

Home Instead have been extremely organised in their approach to helping all Care Professional understand what we can and can’t do in this new world. We were very well prepared, having had full PPE since the start of the pandemic, as well as additional guidance to help cement this new way of working. And that’s still the case now as vaccinations begin to rollout. A 24-hour support number was made available to us that is still in operation now for any member of staff to call at any time. Home Instead made a difficult and complicated situation straightforward for all of us. But naturally, it’s still an uncertain time that is challenging for everyone.

We have continued to take on new clients during this period, adhering to the rules. Some of those in our care are understandably frustrated by the new limitations. Loneliness is more prevalent right now; they will ask, “why can’t I stay longer?”, “why is everything is closed?”, “why can no one visit me?”. The news can be even more frightening to them than it is to you or me.

When you are doing something you love, it’s not work!

A great Care Professional really is priceless. For those in your care it’s invaluable to have built a strong personal relationship over time, making it such an important role with so much job satisfaction gained from knowing you are genuinely helping people.

People in your care come to rely on you, and you specifically, and that is something of which I am enormously proud. Being a Care Professional is a job I hope to continue for a long time to come.

For more information

Find out more about becoming a Home Instead Care Professional, or apply for a role today.

You might also like to find out more about our elderly home care options or dementia home care services.