Carer interviews: ‘There’s nothing more rewarding’

Feb 25, 2019

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Carer interviews: ‘There’s nothing more rewarding’

Carer interviews: ‘There’s nothing more rewarding’

Posted in : All, Dementia Care, Personal Experience & Interviews on by : Giulia Melchiorre

I had the privilege of speaking to four remarkable women that have spent a lot of their time caring for people with dementia. Their professional and personal experiences have given them unique insights into what it means to look after someone with dementia.

Meet the team

Karen has worked at Castle View for 4 years, and she has spent all of her time in the dementia unit. She is very passionate about what she does.

Amy with her bubbly and caring personality has been working in care for 5 years, and she has always worked with people affected by dementia.

Catherine is one of the newer team members, as she only joined Castle View in May 2018. Catherine worked in a betting office before she joined the care sector. She says “Care is something I wanted to do for a long time. But the timing was never right. I enjoy my job. I love my job. There’s nothing else I would want to be doing, and there’s nothing more rewarding.”

Margaret is a nursing home manager, and she started working in the care sector aged 16. Her motto is “We come to work in their homes. Their home first. Our work second.” She has now worked in this sector for over 40 years, and you can tell that she really cares about what she does. Margaret says “I struggle to switch off, I take things home.”

Top tips for families

I asked them what their top tips for families that are caring for someone with dementia at home would be. They said:

  • Be patient:You need to have a lot of patience. Dementia can go from high to low in a minute. Don’t tell them they’re wrong. You’ll never ever win a fight.”
  • Be understanding: “You’ve got to live in their world. They’re not in our world. They go back to their childhood. They may start to mistake you for someone else, but they will still remember you.
  • Take a break: “A lot of families feel scared. They don’t want to put someone in respite, because they’re worried the person may forget who they are. But they won’t. If you don’t take a break, then you will end up taking out your frustration and anger on the person you’re caring for.”
  • Stay calm & drink tea: If someone is physically or verbally aggressive, try and calm them down by speaking to them one-to-one. “The magic word is a cup of tea”. Sit down with them and take time to listen and understand why they’re upset.
  • Stay active: Sleeping problems are common for people with dementia. ‘Try and keep them active all day’. At night time, try a hot chocolate instead of tea to avoid caffeine. If the house is safe (i.e. no gas cookers, sharp objects, tripping hazards) you can consider letting them wander.
  • Listen: If a person with dementia is upset, sit and listen. “You’ve got to listen. They could actually be telling you something. They don’t get angry for nothing. You need to listen to that frustration. Just go with it. They know what they’re talking about, so let them finish their rant.”

Some final thoughts

Towards the end of our session, I asked if there was anything else they would like people to know.

Karen: “People with dementia can’t help it. It’s not the person’s fault. My mum had dementia. You feel like you’re repeating yourself all the time. At first, I thought she was at it…

Amy: “Families shouldn’t feel like there’s a time limit on their visit. It’s not a hospital. It’s their home. It’s like a big hotel.”

Catherine: “I’ve got no patience at home. When your 15-year-old is being a tit, he’s being a tit on purpose. But for people with dementia you understand that it’s not their fault.”

 

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Please note that all opinions are the writer’s own and Castle View did not pay for this article.

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