My youngest son always says he’s embarrassed to tell his mates that his mums ‘just’ a carer. I also hear people say the saying ‘just’ a carer. As I said to DS, do you have any idea what I do at work all day? Do you have any idea what ‘just’ a carer actually does? He shrugged.
I have worked in a care home, but for the majority of my ‘unskilled’ job I’ve worked in community care. The saying ‘just’ a carer absolutely irritates me. People think that a carer just makes cups of teas and chats to cute little old men and women. As a carer, we look after an array of people. We look after people who have come home to die within that difficult situation family environment. We tend to the persons every need making sure they are fully equipped with equipment that the general person wouldn’t even knew existed. We check their pain levels, their bodily functions and outputs, their food and fluids input. We liaise with social workers, district nurses, GP’s, physios and OT’s. All whilst making sure the person and the family are happy and contented as can be. We provide reassurance and guidance all with a friendly smile and most of the time we make these visits their favourite time of the day and becoming almost part of the furniture in the process. We can use stand-aids, hoists, slide-sheets, turntables, slide-boards and commodes with our eyes shut, we look after people who are severely disabled, amputees, spinal injuries and people who have to live with progressive disorders. MS, Motor Nuerone Disease, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Dementia and Alzheimer’s.
We look after people who are alcoholics, we see some of the most saddest of mental health cases, where somewhere along the line they’ve either slipped through the net or have been declined mental health help, then through self neglect are in need of a carer to help with they’re daily basic needs. It teaches you to not judge the ‘drunks and druggies’ and as a carer your well aware everyone has they’re own story; everyone has their own demons.
We can smell a UTI a mile off. We know when someone isn’t well usually just by looking at them cause we know them so well, sometimes better than the relatives. Sometimes we get more attached than we should. Sometimes we go home and breakdown because our ‘favorite’ is dying or has died. It breaks us and once you get home you don’t have to put on that brave, professional face anymore.
We have sleepless nights over worrying about someone we’re looking after. We get into bed and instead of going to sleep we do research on how we can make things easier or better for someone or they’re family. And of course we look after the little cuties who you could take home and talk to all day who just need checking on. Not everyone or anyone can do this job; they aren’t cut out for it.
So to all my fellow colleagues past and present…don’t ever think your ‘just’ a carer. We are the back bone of adult social care.
Be proud of what we do ❤️