Working in a care home
Working in a care home can provide many joys as well as challenges. Each member of staff will have a varied experience of working in a care home, and guaranteed to each have a lot of interesting work-stories.
Being with so many different people during your work day gives you an interesting and varied understanding of the world. You will face mental and physical challenges in this sector, but there is an extremely rewarding aspect to being a carer.
What might a day look like for a carer?
Your day might consist of preparing different meals, depending on your shift and type of care home. You may at least be helping with mealtimes if your care home has a cook or caterer.
During a shift, you will physically aid any resident that needs help, and have a general chit chat! Talking about plans for the day or something in the news perhaps.
You may either prepare a resident for the day by helping them get clean, dressed and ready for the day or helping them prepare for a good night’s rest.
As well as any activities or visits that your residents may have through the day, you will provide some general comfort and support. This might be a chat with a cup of tea, some advice, or a good laugh.
General responsibilities are likely to include some tidying up and general housekeeping, however your role will vary day to day. In some cases (dependent on your qualifications and position), you may be responsible for medication dispensing.
Benefits of working in a care home
Job satisfaction is a key factor in being a carer, helping others and giving them a great quality of life can be extremely rewarding for those who choose to do it.
Care homes often arrange events, sing-alongs, craft days and other entertainment! This can be really enjoyable and fun for all the staff and will create some wonderful lasting memories.
Working in an elderly care home particularly can give you a greater understanding of life and peoples’ experiences. You can learn so much from others and feel more empathy for those coming to the end of their lives. Listening to their stories can be a lot of fun!
Your work patterns are likely to be flexible to accommodate your residents’ needs. This means you won’t have a typical 9-5 job. Furthermore, no two days will be the same! Your day-to-day work will also have fun and flexibility to it.
Many care homes have great benefits for their staff, including holiday pay, pension and training, with access to further education courses in some cases.
Challenges of working in a care home
Caring for others requires emotional labour. Kindness, empathy and understanding are at the forefront of a carer’s mind. For this reason, caring for someone who may be unwell, deteriorating, or facing mental health challenges can take an emotional toll.
To add to this, your patients or residents may have mood swings, or refuse help, leading to more emotional difficulties.
Day to day, there are physical challenges when working in a care home. For example, working through the night, long shifts, and varied shifts.
You may be moving patients around or be on your feet for long periods of time. This makes being a carer a very physically demanding role!
Mental health challenges
As outlined earlier, working with elderly and vulnerable people who may take bad turns or pass away, can be devastating for their carer.
Furthermore, a lack of a consistent schedule can hinder sleep and social situations. These small things can add up to declining mental health, so it is vital that carers seek support from their loved ones or professionals.
Being a carer in 2021
We are all aware that working a care home is a job not all of us could do, and we applaud those who dedicate their life to improving the lives of others.
In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought extra challenges to this role. We want to show our utmost respect to care workers who delivered care during such a difficult time for us all.