We’ve been asking our carers and clients:
“What is a day like with live-in care”?
One thing that stood out for me when I joined Christies Care was that my job was to “help my client live their life as independently as possible”. It was all about the client’s needs, not mine! That’s my job. The bonus for me is that I enjoy the activities my client engages in. But even if I didn’t, helping him to fulfil his needs and activities are my priorities.
When I first met Gary I was over the moon that he was a sports lover like me. But he doesn’t just enjoy watching sport on TV – he does what he can to support the local cricket team, Frinton Cricket Club, by attending their matches. Both home and away fixtures. My role is to ensure that Gary’s presence at the matches goes without a hitch as he is regarded by the team as their “Supporter of the Year.” An accolade for which he was honoured last season.
On a match day we generally make an earlier than usual start as there could be some extra travelling involved if it is an away fixture. For instance, last Saturday was Frinton’s away game against Woolpit Cricket Club which is near Bury St Edmunds. Early morning saw me preparing our packed lunch and making sure that we had enough coats, blankets, caps and scarves to stave off the cold, usually associated with the start of the season. When it’s time for Gary to get up we generally allow enough of a time window to comfortably enjoy breakfast and a cup of coffee before transferring to Gary’s specially adapted motor car that he can access with his wheelchair. Once we’re settled in the car, with the heating turned up, I fire up my tablet with the Google map directions to the cricket ground and the lady in the tablet starts telling me to “head north until you reach Norwood Way, then turn left onto Frinton Road”, etc.
We allow enough time to reach the cricket ground with time to spare as Gary is interested in being present for the toss and chatting to the players and umpires before the first ball is bowled. Gary’s regular turnout for the club makes him a popular figure with the team. They know they can rely on him for his advice and verbal encouragement at all times. We settle down to watch the game and there is much discussion about the tactics, the team selection and performance as the game progresses.
Frinton is playing in the East Anglia Premier League, so the format is not the same as a straightforward 50/50 over match nor a T20. So the tactics of both teams are of keen interest to us both, as the format demands a lot more strategy from the captains – who make calls about what to do and when – that the 50 over games never see. It’s exciting stuff!
The matches start at 11:00 and in the day there are 120 overs bowled. Gary likes to watch every ball and we try to find a position as close to the end of the wicket as possible, without interfering with the sight screens. During the course of the match I assist with providing drinks and toilet breaks for Gary and at lunch time we are able to sit and enjoy our packed lunch. Official “Tea Time” is taken at 17:00 and the matches usually finish at 20:00 (unless bad light stops play).
We then congratulate the two teams and make our way back home – in this case it was an hour’s trip. We arrived home just after 9pm and it was then quick to heat up the supper I had prepared earlier.
Supper is a leisurely affair with much discussion about the match – the individual performances, the mistakes, the high points and the lessons to be learned from the day. Bedtime eventually happens when the conversation is exhausted.
It’s been an enjoyable day – but my role as carer began early. There was supper to prepare for our return as well as making the packed lunch Gary wanted. Ensuring that we took sufficient water was also paramount. If there were no tea facilities where we were visiting, I had to ensure that Gary didn’t get dehydrated. During the day, while the match was on, it was important for me to be available to attend to Gary’s needs while at the same time enjoying the experience of being outdoors and doing something more than a regular daily routine.
What a privilege it is to be able to assist a client in achieving the independence and enjoyment of life they deserve and at the same time share in that pursuit.
Now THAT’S what I call “work”!
I’ve been living independently through 24 hour Christies Care for over 10 years now.
From a client’s point of view, having 24 hour live-in care at times can feel like a necessary invasion of privacy. But it is so much more than putting somebody to bed, getting them up, and feeding them during the day. Having somebody like Rob, who’s prepared to put the work in to make the above sort of day at the cricket possible, opens up so many different doors for me.
Rob referred to how important the support was to my cricket team, but the fact is, I couldn’t offer them as much support as I do without him. The most important thing for me is that a care assistant does their work willingly because that also adds to my enjoyment.
I know some people might say, “It’s my job so I have to do it”, but to be an effective care assistant in my view, most of the time, you have to enjoy what you’re doing to enable the client to enjoy it too. This sort of thing can only happen if prospective carers are open with Christies about what they enjoy doing and would be prepared to do, so they can match people up effectively.
I would like to put on record my thanks to Rob, for all the work that he does for me.