A carer’s tale
Please read my stories with an open mind and heart. I write these stories as entertainment and to record my stories as a carer not to blame or offend anyone.
The Greek lady smelt stale cigarette smoke. She had been asked to thoroughly explain me the nitty-gritty details of the job. It was my first assignment, fresh out from the course.
The carer was kind, handed me an A4 sheet with the so-called MARchart. She kindly explained what medications to administer when and how, introduced me to my old-lady and got into the taxi I arrived in. For the first 3 days I was looking for things frantically and asking the most stupid questions apologetically that drove my old lady bonkers. I stayed on the assignment for two weeks which was a rather speedy course in caring for an elderly lady who was mobile, slightly forgetful and only needed attention to her meds, meals and dressing. I was so lucky, as I learnt later.
A piece of cake you may think. Well, not knowing where to find basic items you daily need and look for them endlessly can be a daunting task. There is never a description where to find things, what the customer eats, or how to support her in enjoying her time.
I soon realized that the training had not prepared me for the job. Interpersonal skills are not even mentioned during the 5-day training. It is only ‘health and safety’. No part of the training deals with creating and maintaining a relationship with a person who is 50 years older than you or has severe dementia. The training ‘only’ focuses on the practicalities of the job: how to hoist, use a wheelchair, administer medications, keep your environment clean and tidy, and similar. Useful, but how to ‘care’ was simply not included in the table of contents.