Hi, I’m Pauline Arrow-Smith and I’m a Senior Carer at Willowdale Care Home.
Do you feel you can make a difference?
Everyday I come in through the door I know I’m going to make a difference. People are here because they’re not able to look after themselves, and that’s our job to do that. I try to do that 100% everyday.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Everything really, it’s just about being able to come in and give them the reassurance they need. Obviously, they do get low, and sitting down to talk, and listening means a great deal to them. It is a hard job, and when we’ve looked after a resident for so long and all of a sudden you get to the stage where you see them going ‘down’, that is the hard part as a Carer. You remember them as they were when they came in, able to do certain thing for themselves, then all of a sudden their care needs change. Not just on a weekly basis, but on a daily basis.
I enjoy it when we are able to give them the reassurance that we’re able to look after them and that we’re here as a friend and not just as a Carer.
What keeps you working in social care?
A lot of my friends say to me ‘I take my hat off to you, because I couldn’t do that job’.
It’s seeing the smile on their faces, because I’m basically a bit of a ‘mad’ Carer. I’m a singer and a dancer and I do all that, and it makes their day. It’s also nice as well, when you go on holiday and come back, and they ask ‘where have you been’. It’s nice to be missed.
Some people don’t have anybody. Some people haven’t even got husbands, no families, no children, some are bachelors, so when they come in here, they have that company, that reassurance. We can chat to them, they can tell us their problems. Sometimes we have to say’ we’ve got to get where you are, we’ve got to understand’.
What would you say to someone who was looking to work in social care?
Give it a go! It’s not for everybody, I get that, but just give it a go, because it makes a difference to them. It’s hard from time to time, but what job isn’t? Get in there and give it a go, and if you like it, stick at it because it’s well rewarding.
What do you think of the negative perceptions of social care?
It makes me angry. Try it for yourself. It is a rewarding job. Not all carers are the same. There is some nasty ones out there, but there is also very good ones out there as well. We need to hear a bit more about the good.
You’ll get the documentaries and the news, about things happening in care homes, which is really shocking, but we never see the good side of a good care home.
What is a good care home? I think the staff help a lot, If you’ve got good staff and if they’ve got good rapport with the residents, then I think it’ll be OK. Places like where I work and other care hoes, people have that support, and they feel safe. They know they’ve got that bell, that lifeline, and they know they can ring us when they need to. We’re there, and we’ll do what we can at the time, to make them more comfortable, until, wherever – which is hopefully a very long time.
We do get upset when they pass away. We want them to live forever, but we know they don’t. We get emotional, but then get cross with ourselves and then we think ‘no, we are human’ and we do get attached to each and every one of them. You fill up thinking about it. It is hard.
Posted on 21 March 2019