“It is absolutely fascinating, I like teasing out a story with the people I work with, I find people so interesting and love hearing their stories.”
Sarah joined Kemble earlier this year as a carer in the Ledbury team. Previously she had been working for a charity in Ledbury as the co-ordinator organising a large number of volunteers and office support staff. She enjoyed problem solving as well as helping people, a theme throughout her career which started in Limerick, West Ireland where she worked as a Mental Health Tribunal Clerk.
Sarah had been thinking about becoming a carer but there were a few things that were preventing her from taking the final leap. She kept seeing adverts for care work and really liked the idea of it although because she didn’t have 6 months care experience that was being requested by many care companies; she didn’t think she would be successful. She also imagined that the tasks would be predominantly personal care and wasn’t sure if she could do that part of the job. It wasn’t until earlier in the summer that Sarah saw a Kemble advert, which was not asking for previous experience and something about the language of it prompted her to get in touch. We are so grateful that she did!
Sarah explains that each person she supports wants different things and the main part of the job is to ensure they get what they want. This can be anything from the practical tasks she might do and also as importantly the way that she is in each person’s home. Someone might like to be really chatty and someone might not, so she adapts according to their preferences. As she talks, I get the sense that Sarah is incredibly good at adapting to these preferences and this is possibly the one secret ingredient for a fantastic carer; someone who senses almost instinctively what is wanted, and is able to get on the tasks at hand, and most importantly is able to adapt how they go about it and how they interact with the person they are caring for accordingly. Sarah goes on to say how she felt like she was in an incredible history lesson with one client – saying that it was almost like role play, being immersed in a history for the whole time.
“You sort of drop into their lives and slot into their lives, figuring out what they want and how they want to be.”
“It’s so varied!” Sarah laughs. Some of her tasks have included feeding geese, lots of cleaning, supporting people with showering, getting ready for bed, sorting and assisting with medicines, shopping and companionship. The personal care that initially Sarah wasn’t so sure about, now isn’t a problem at all. Someone during the Kemble training told her not to worry, it would come naturally and Sarah was happy to find that it did. She said “It is one of those things that has to be sorted out. I just got on with it and it’s been fine. It is the same as all the other tasks that need to be done.”
Sarah’s favourite part of the job is meeting interesting people and taking time to build up a relationship with people, which she admits takes time, especially if someone has dementia. “After a bit of time you eventually sync along”
Ledbury is a very small team at the moment, there are three wonderful women, all a similar age with quite a bit in common. They get on well together and support each other, overlapping in their work at times. They are great at communicating between themselves and have the clients’ best interest at heart. They meet regularly and help each other to understand how best to support each person. This team is an important aspect of the work. Additionally, Sarah feels she can pick up the phone and ask for help and that everyone in the office is kind, approachable and supportive.
Apart from her care work, Sarah enjoys lots of gardening. She has a very wild garden, deliberately wild with mainly vegetables and fruit and with a focus on growing flowers this year which she describes as being extremely unsuccessful producing very ugly flowers! She had had a plan to sell cut flowers but will now have to spend time digging up the ugly perennials and starting again. Her 2 lurchers ensure she gets out for lovely walks down the country roads and nearby woodlands.
When I asked Sarah to sum up care work she admitted that it is very difficult to pigeon-hole.
“Expect the unexpected! I thought it would be purely personal care and it is a lot more; it is assisting people to live the way they want to live – an extension of them.”
Thank you Sarah for the difference you are making to people living in and around Ledbury, for assisting them to carry on living in their homes and for going about your work so sensitively; adapting your approach to each person you meet.