A Shropshire home care boss is on a personal mission to promote social care as a positive and rewarding career in an effort to reach people who may never have thought of working in the sector before.
Rachael Birchall, of Home Instead Senior Care Shrewsbury, Ludlow and Oswestry, aims to debunk urban myths and change the way people think about social care.
She said working in a quality social care environment was an enriching experience with the power to change lives and bring personal fulfilment.
Rachael, who cared for her grandmother before launching her company over two years ago, is holding a series of coffee mornings in Shrewsbury for people interested in finding out more about the role.
“There is a lot of stigma attached to social care, but really it’s about providing a life-line and friendship to vulnerable people, bringing happiness and interest back into their lives,” she said.
“Proper care is not about 15 minutes calls! Working in a quality social care environment gives the proper time to form friendships and provide physical, mental and social activities for older people. Companionship is a big part of what we do and it’s an area that would suit many people who might otherwise be interested in voluntary work.
“Many of our CAREGivers take people shopping and on visits. We recently took a gentleman, who suffers from dementia and Parkinson’s, for a walk around the ruins of Llangollen Castle. He has loved walking for most of his life and he thoroughly enjoyed his visit. It also gave his wife, who is his main carer, valuable time to fulfil other commitments in her life.
“One of our CAREGivers recently took a lady, who grew up by the sea, on a wonderful visit to Aberdovey.
“Companionship gives hope, a bit of happiness. It breaks the loneliness. Often these people are living alone by themselves. It gives them something to think about and look forward to. It is known that people with dementia remember their feelings, so if they have a happy experience it stays with them.”
Bill Hurst, 64, a semi-retired former postman, became a caregiver for Home Instead a year ago. One of his clients is an 84-year-old woman with early stage dementia whom he takes on weekly visits to art galleries, museums and Attingham Park.
“In the past I’ve worked for Age Concern doing something similar, but on a voluntary basis. I love talking to older people. I like to hear their stories and develop a rapport,” he said.
“I see the lady for four hours once a week and on some Saturdays. Another CAREGiver visits her three times a week and takes her shopping and elsewhere. She lives alone and the visits make a real difference to her life. I don’t just do it for altruistic reasons. I like to make a difference and I enjoy it too.”
Rachael will be holding the coffee mornings, between 11am and 1pm, at The Lantern, in Meadow Farm Drive, Sundorne, on Tuesday November 3; at Palmers Café, Shrewsbury Baptist Church, Claremont Street, on Friday November 6; the Trinity Centre, Church Road, Meole Brace, on Tuesday November 10 and The Gateway centre, Chester Street, on Friday November 13.
Nationally there is a shortage of workers in the social care sector and demand is set to increase as the aging population grows.
For further information contact Home Instead Senior Care Shrewsbury, Ludlow and Oswestry on 01743 387650.