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Kennedy, one of our lovely Care Assistants took the time out from her busy day to tell us what life as a care assistant at Fairdene Lodge is really all about…
I’ve been working in care for over five years now, it’s something I always wanted to do. Having grown up with a cousin with learning disabilities I enjoyed helping her and playing with her growing up. So much so that I started volunteering at a day centre and that’s where my career in care began. I wanted to work in a role that I found rewarding, and being a care assistant I find really rewarding.
I’ve been at Fairdene since November 2018 and I can say hand on heart this is the best care home I’ve worked at. This is because of the real focus on person centred care and the staff are really friendly. As a team we work to give every resident the best possible quality of life and we offer a wide range of activities alongside our care to achieve this.
We try and offer a mix of physical and mental activities and we are always welcoming people into the home to offer different activities from singers with instruments to get everyone involved to Pet Pals who visit once a month with different animals for the residents to meet and pet. A couple of months ago we had goats at Fairdene – the first time I have ever seen a goat in a care home! The residents loved feeding the goats and the little tickle of the goat eating out of their hands.
But it’s not all about dancing and singing we also use meaningful activities to create a real homely feel. So if residents want to get involved in the cleaning of the home they can – whether that’s sweeping up, helping clear after meals or helping us take in deliveries. All tasks appeal to a different personality, so our ex-builder resident likes to be involved in taking in the deliveries, while our resident who used to work in the boxing industry tells us stories about al the sights and celebrities he’s seen.
No two days are the same at Fairdene Lodge, and when you arrive at the beginning of your shift, you never know what kind of day it might be, but it’s good to know on the more stressful and taxing days that I have such great team support. We all help each other out and we get the chance to reward our fellow team mates with “employee of the month” voted for by us!
I love having a laugh with the residents and hearing everyone’s stories, but what I really love about working at Fairdene Lodge is going home feeling that I have done some good, that I’ve made a difference.
As the temperature drops and the nights get longer, it’s more important than ever to think about those more vulnerable than us, including the elderly. For some it can be a period of time where social contact reduces, so here are our thoughts on how you can help the vulnerable over the festive period.
1. Several short visits would be better than one long visit
Try and plan a few phone calls or cups of tea, Christmas can be a lonely time of year for some, try to think beyond your immediate family. Is there a neighbour who would love some company over the festive period? Why not pop round with a mince pie…
2. Hypothermia – spot the early signs
Fuel is becoming more expensive, and as we head into colder weather, elderly may try to cut back on the heating to save on the bills. A room that might seem warm enough for you may not be for the infirm or those who cannot exercise, an ideal temperature would be 20-21 Celsius. Early signs of hyperthermia can include:
As the ice sets in, many vulnerable people have falls and breaks can often be left untreated. If they have had a fall, check any bruises just in case. Similarly, many vulnerable people are afraid to go out in poor weather conditions, so why not offer to help with a weekly shop?
Having the heating up higher can cause dehydration. Even mild dehydration can affect your energy levels and leave you feeling tired or confused so try to ensure the elderly and vulnerable are drinking enough water.
Over Christmas daily routines go out the window and this could make it easier to forget to take important medications. Perhaps set alarms as reminders, or pop in at medicine times.
If you have any concerns about a friend or relative contact the medical services on 111 or in an emergency dial 999.