Personal carer Di connects with all the nans and grandads
Communication and connection are the heart of what Di does as a personal carer.
‘It’s the best job ever,’ says Di about her work as a personal carer with Blue Care. Di came to the personal carer role later in life after having worked as a house cleaner.
For the past six years, she has been supporting clients on Brisbane’s southside and recently undertook specialised dementia training to better support those living with dementia and their loved ones.
Blue Care offers individualised packages that support people living with dementia to live well and safely in their own home. We can also provide carers with a break from caring with our in-home respite care.
As part of our respite care service, there are familiarisation visits, to get to know one another better. Families get to meet the new carer and the carer gets to know their client’s needs and wants. This process also matches carers and clients based on interests. Di loves quilting, crocheting and knitting and has a lot to chat about with her like-minded clients.
Di also barracks for St Kilda and “anyone who plays against Collingwood” - so when she discovered one of her clients was a Lions fan she made sure to wear her St Kilda scarf the next time their teams faced each other on the field. While that game wasn’t a win for St Kilda, for Di the connection it created over a shared love was invaluable.
Don’t just go in and do what you’ve got to do. Talk,’ she says, adding, ‘If you don’t talk (then) you’re not ever going to get to know them.’
She admits that when a client is new it can take time to break the ice, but when you become a regular visitor, it can be a challenge to cut conversations short at times if she is on a schedule. Her sure-fire conversation starter, and advice to those new to the role, is to ask about photos. Every photo on a wall or dresser represents an important person or memory and can help prompt a connection or a shared interest.
For those families considering getting support for a loved one Di says it doesn’t hurt to get a bit of help. She finds her visits give family members a chance to get out to take a walk, grab a coffee with friends, or even have a friendly chat with her. Beyond the direct support given the service also creates the space where loved ones can find time to rest and recuperate.
'Some days I think; ‘They pay me to do this'', she laughs, 'It’s like visiting your nan, but you’ve got all these nans and all these granddads.'
Specialised dementia in home respite is all about providing care and dignity to those living with dementia, and respite and relief to their loved ones. As Di says, 'I hope someday someone looks after me like I look after them.'