Hello and welcome to my latest blog…

In this, what could be my last blog for a while, I’d like to focus on one topic only… a very important one for me, and for the staff I work with. And it’s fair to say, that it’s important to all our lovely residents too… It’s about what it means to be a carer, and to care for others, and why we follow a career path that involves making other people’s lives more comfortable and enjoyable.

In a world where it is easy to be ‘self-focused’ and solely concerned about our own needs, it is refreshing to see so many people showing concern for the welfare of others. This is basically at the heart of what being a carer means.

It means having the character and personality to help better the lives of others… in our case, our residents, and their loved ones. It involves dedication, concern, empathy, patience and a non-judgmental mind. These are skills which many others have too, but the difference with being a carer is that those skills need to be delivered professionally to have maximum effect.

Teamwork is crucial. In our homes we have developed an ethos which all adhere to, so that we are following a similar pattern of behaviour and are delivering the skills required in a consistent and coherent manner. We interact for the good of all our residents, for the good of each other, and for the general well-being of our three lovely homes.

For me personally, being a good carer involves understanding each individual and their needs. It is easy to ‘think’ the right things, but for me, being pragmatic and ‘doing’ the right things is crucial. For example, to be organised, clean and tidy, aware of every individual’s personal care including their oral care and hygiene, making sure they have the right medicines, that they are delivered at the right times, etc. It means respecting residents and colleagues by keeping confidentiality, encouraging everyone to listen to individual needs and respond to them, and to respect their personal desires and wishes.

A good carer needs to learn how to communicate with one and all, to be in tune with those they care for, which sometimes means understanding non-verbal communication too. And to top it all off, a good carer is always polite, understanding and respectful.

A carer will always come across challenging situations, and it is often how they deal with those situations which makes such a huge difference to others. Spreading positivity in our profession is vital. No matter what the background or challenging circumstance. It isn’t always easy, but it is very rewarding, especially when you go through hard times and come out smiling the other end. A happy and healthy environment reflects positively on both residents and colleagues.

I mention the word ‘rewarding’ because it is. Seeing the positive difference you make to the life of another is somehow more rewarding than simply doing it for yourself. Only a carer with true devotion will understand this. Yes, it’s a ‘vocation’ but it’s also a career too. That’s something I am keen to get across. You can be an excellent carer, and have all the skills required, but you also have the chance to progress in a career.

So, that is my own perspective. But I have also asked some of my current colleagues to say a little something about what being a good carer means to them. I have selected three examples, and I’m going to let them have the final word…

“If I can make a difference to people’s lives, and put a smile on someone’s face, then that to me is priceless. I love being a carer and I am proud in what I do in my carer role.” Roseanne Matthews

“To support people with everyday tasks, and deliver the best care possible. To be compassionate and treat residents with dignity and respect as individuals.” Natalia Oleksy

“Follow your heart and make residents feel special. Reach out with kindness. When you smile the individual resident will smile with you. Money cannot buy love, trust, health or happiness – this is the role of a carer.” Julie Jones