My experience as a CAREGiver

I have been a CAREGiver with Home Instead for nearly 6 years.

Before I joined Home Instead, I was raising a family, helping my husband run his business and taking care of my own mother, who lived with me and had limited mobility.

Very sadly my mother passed away and at around the same time my youngest child started senior school. I found there was quite a void in my life and I seemed to have plenty of time on my hands.  A friend told me about a job opportunity to become a CAREGiver, and I thought why not?  I have the experience from looking after my own mother whom I missed terribly, so why not do something I was comfortable doing and earn some money too.  One of the other benefits of being a CAREGiver for Home Instead was that I could pick the hours I wanted to work, leaving time for other interests and be available to look after my Grandchildren.

My journey thus far has been on the whole, wonderful.  I have had the honour to meet some amazing people I wouldn’t normally have met and they have become, with their families, great friends too.  I have been able to further my knowledge and skills set by being given free training on a range of different subjects, adding to my personal growth and education.

I most enjoy getting to know my clients and listening to their life stories.  I learn something nearly every day, I know that sounds like a cliché but it’s true. Through my clients, I learn about all sorts, whether it’s the names of plants and trees, or the birds that are in their gardens.  Sometimes it’s just about life’s lessons themselves, the good, the bad and the ugly.

The one thing that is hard, but an occupational hazard, is when a client passes away or, for whatever reason has to move on.  Because you spend and invest such a lot of time with a client it is inevitable that you become quite close, so like any member of your family it is hard to deal with should such sad events take place.

To anyone thinking of becoming a carer I would say, make sure you are mentally strong because although training is given, it can still be challenging to be responsible for another person’s care and because I believe this is a vocational calling, you are going to be a caring person anyway and may take things to heart.  Learn to delegate and ask for help if needed.  It also helps to have a sense of humour and a thick skin.  The elderly can sometimes be brutally honest, especially about personal appearance etc. so try not to be too sensitive!

Be prepared to be amazed by what some of your potential clients have seen and done in their lives, every day is an education.  Ask questions, the elderly have a wealth of untapped knowledge to share with you, so never judge a book by its cover! 

My very last word of advice would be….. patience.

                                                                                                   By Teresa Nicholls (all in her own words) - CAREGiver since January 2012