Please introduce yourself
I’m Dai Williams, and I from Rhos on Sea, Colwyn Bay, and I’m a Shared Lives Carer.
Tell us about Shared Lives
We usually have 2, up to 3 young people living with us, over the age of 18. Adults with Learning Disabilities.
It means a lot. You have yourself, you share your house and you try and help people who sometimes find it difficult to live in society for different reasons, or live with family for different reasons.
Describe a typical day in your role.
We get up just after 6, we make sandwiches for our young people, some prefer to do their own. We prepare them for their day out, ‘work’ they call it. We make sure they get to the day opportunities safely, then, I prepare then to take people out with dementia as I also do ‘TRIO’ work and Shared Days.
We take people out for the day. It means a lot, especially to me, because you’re taking the person out to enjoy himself or herself, but you’re also giving the partner at home a break, or the family. That gives them a day to get their minds together. Some may sleep all day because they don’t get any sleep at night. It’s very important that this carries on to get people out there and the people at home to have a bit of a rest as well.
What do you do when you go out with people living with dementia?
When you take people out for the day it depends on the individual. You do what they like to do. I used to have a gentleman that used to play football as a schoolboy for Everton, so we went to Everton football ground for the day. I’ve got a gentleman now and I’m arranging to go to Wrexham, because he used to play for Wrexham. I used to have a gentleman that used to sing in a choir, so we went singing with him every chance we got. It takes them back to their happy days. Some like to go shopping, so I take them shopping.
Can you think of a time when you have made a real difference to someone’s life?
I can actually. We had a gentleman in Conwy. The first time I went to see him, the gentleman would not come out of the house. He was a Welsh speaker and I’m a Welsh speaker as well.
It took me about an hour to talk to this gentleman to say ’open the door for me next week, and I’ll come and see you’. He did and we were able to go out of the front door, out to the pavement and then back to the house and chat and have a laugh. The next week, he was by the front door waiting for me, so we went in to my car 10 minutes down the road and back again.
The third week, he had his jacket on, by the pavement waiting for me. This gentleman is now back on the bus, doing everything for himself, and going places where he hasn’t been in years, going out for coffee by himself. I even travelled with him in the back of the bus for the first time to make sure he felt safe, that he had someone to make him feel safe.
That’s the sort of thing that we do on the day to day, but we don’t rush it. We take it nice and slow and make sure the individual’s happy doing it.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I enjoy to see the smile of people’s faces when they’re enjoying themselves. They come out of a dark place sometimes and they enjoy themselves, just a smile. I had a gentleman out the other day, where it had been hard graft to get him to come and enjoy himself. He was very conscious of people and didn’t like crowded places. Anyway, we went to a party, and this gentleman was actually dancing on the floor, he was dancing in his chair, we was singing. We talked to his daughter and she was crying “my Dad is back, and I’ve never seen Dad so happy in his life”. That was yesterday.
What is the most difficult thing about your job?
The most difficult thing in our job is when you have to call ‘time’ on a person, because their dementia or health has got too bad to take anymore. You have made a friend, and friends should be for life, but there comes a time where you have to say ‘this is not working for this person’, and it’s a shame, because you have to say goodbye to a friend. That’s the hard part of it. That’s the really sad part of it. With dementia, nothing can get better, it can only get worse, and I feel very sad when I have to do that. Very, very sad indeed.
How did you start working in social care?
Well, that’s a funny story actually. I’ a builder by trade, and I went ill quite a few years ago. My wife is already in social care already and she was working with PSS. She said ‘come and do some training, you’re bored’ and I did, and I’ve never looked back.
I’ve never had a job that’s made me happy. Every day, I get out of bed and it’s not a problem. In enjoy my days out, I enjoy having TRIO. It’s a blessing to be able to help other people. It’s one of the best things you can do in your life.
What keeps you working in social care?
Oh, the enjoyment to see people enjoying themselves. Laughter on their face, having fun. Sometimes talking about the old things that used to happen. Every day is different, some problems sometimes, but most of the times it’s a happy time, lots of fun, lots of laughter. And it’s a very, very, very rewarding job.
What skills do you have to be successful in your role?
No skills whatsoever. Just be yourself, enjoy it, that’s the main skill you need. Yes, we need all of our qualifications, but that doesn’t make us a better carer. The best carer is one that enjoys his job and carries it out decently. I’m a builder by trade, so if I can do it, anyone can do it.
What would you say to someone looking to work in social care?
Please do so because it’s such a rewarding job. When you sit at home at night and say ‘good day today’, then you’ve got a smile on your face. It’s a good day every day because people are there to enjoy themselves. You help to make somebody’s day a special day.
Posted on 28 February 2020