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Support Workers & Carers are Amazing!

What an incredible bunch of people support workers and carers are, to choose to care for others. They are knowledgeable about their participant(s), and what their goals are, as well as their likes, dislikes, allergies and more. They plan outings, events, social interactions, medical appointments and sometimes holidays. They are flexible and enable the client to have greater independence with their assistance. I have met many wonderful support workers and aged care workers.

The qualities needed include patience, kindness, integrity, flexibility, critical thinking, attention to details and a positive attitude. Being an advocate for the client is part of the role, allowing and encouraging clients to do as much of their daily living activities as they can, and to reach for new things to try. One important area is to encourage social interactions, to guide and sometimes show by example how to speak with other people.

Challenges can sometimes occur for various reasons, lack of communication or being late can cause distress. Clients may not be aware that carers can have several different clients in one day/night and must negotiate the traffic between. Depending on a client’s illness or conditions, they may occasionally be demanding, rude, or aggressive both verbally and physically. For example, a dementia client can suddenly become panicked and fearful and hit out at others, then be back to normal a short while later. Workers are often aware this can happen, and offer reassurance, or sometimes allow the client some space to calm down if safe to do so. It depends on the client’s known preferences.

Pat yourself on the back, another shift well done. Allow yourself time to think about your self-care.

Written by Ann Cox, support worker, carer, advocate, and professional counsellor.

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