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A Week in Life of...

Published on 21 April 2022 11:49 AM

A week in the Life of...

Zoe, Home Support Worker

  • What do our Home Support Workers do?
  • How do they support older people to live well and independently at home?

Hello, my name is Zoe, I am a home support worker for Age UK, I work part-time & can fit my hours working for the Home Support Service around my other activities. Below is my diary of what I did last week, but I also want to share why I do what I do and how much I enjoy it:

Why?

The first thing that attracted me to becoming a Home Support Worker for Age UKCAP, was how the hours easily fit around my children's school times. Also, I can take on as little, or as much work without any pressure from management. This employment fits perfectly around my family life. I’ve been in this role now for 5 years.

I visit my service users every week or fortnightly. I see the same service users and I've developed good friendships with them all; a few of them I've visited for a number of years. I love knowing that I’m helping people to stay living safely and happy at home by giving them a clean environment to be in, fresh bedding and supporting them to live as they wish. 

All my service users love to sit and chat to me while I’m ironing, dusting and generally helping around the house. A good conversation is so important to our wellbeing, and I find that our service users have so many very interesting things to talk about. It's these conversations I most definitely enjoy the most. I really hope that in my later years, if I'm lucky enough to get there, someone will enjoy a chat about old times with me. Most importantly I've enjoyed making new friends. They're referred to as service users, but to me they are my friends and I appreciate the time I spend with them. 

My days fly by because I'm out and about and busy. The working day never seems to drag like other employment I've had in the past.  It's my day off tomorrow, so I'll be doing my own housework and shopping, running my daughter to her riding lessons after school and, like with most teenagers’, conversation can be quite limited, so I will be looking forward to seeing my Age UK CAP friends again on Thursday!

This is what I did last week:

Monday  

My first visit on Monday is a good start because I find a parking space right outside my service user’s (Shelia) house.  As usual, I knock on the door and enter, and I’m greeted by one of Shelia’s beautiful cats. Sheila calls out “hello” from her kitchen while I fuss a meowing cat. Followed by the cat at my heels, I go through to find Shelia watching the morning news on her laptop. She talks about her weekend, telling me happily that she spent it with her daughter and showed me a new clock she had treated herself to. She asked me if I could help her set it up. I sorted the hands to the correct time, put in the battery and hung it on the wall, then we discussed what she needed me to help her with around the house. 

Today the bed needed changing and the usual hoovering and dusting. We had a chat about her garden and the birds visiting the bird table just outside the kitchen patio doors. The hour went by in a flash.

Sheila asked me to post some letters for her on my way to my next service user. All three of her cats arrive for a fuss before I leave them in peace, they don't much like the vacuum cleaner, so seem happy to see me off!

I post the letters and then drive to see Colin and Dorothy. They enjoy talking about what they've been up to over the weekend. Colin's son cleared an old dog kennel from their back garden over the weekend. It's made the garden look so much bigger, so more room for plant pots. Dorothy talked about planting new potatoes and getting the tomato seeds going. We discussed what they needed me to do today.  Another bed to change and the bathroom needs a going over.

Work done and yellow book filled in (this is a record of what is done each visit e.g. date, time, brief description and every service user has this to keep). I leave them to their cup of tea. I'll be seeing them again on Thursday afternoon as they have a visit for 1 hour twice a week.

I pop home to let the dog out and get myself a cup of tea and a bite to eat, before heading off to do the school run. 

Tuesday

I visit a couple who I also visit twice a week as the lady suffers from severe allergies and regular cleaning keeps her well. I find the lady in the kitchen filling the dish washer and her husband making his way into the garden. He's making a new compost bin with some old flooring planks and making a lovely job of it to. They had a new hallway floor laid last week and he wanted to make use of the old wood. It's a straightforward job as they like me to keep to a set cleaning routine and I get straight to it.

Again, another hour whizzed by and I have a chat with them about their plans to take a drive out tomorrow, possibly to the beach. They like to keep themselves busy so I'm sure they'll be telling me on Thursday what they've been up to. 

In the car, off to see Barbara and her dog, Billy, who I visit fortnightly. 

When I arrive, I'm lucky again and find a parking space outside, which is not always the case on this street. Billy looks excitedly at me through the window and as I go in he rushes over for our usual cuddle. I don't get a choice as I'm not allowed in until he gets his fuss! Barbara is watching This Morning on TV and we talk about the topic that was on. She has a new phone and told me how difficult it is getting used to it. I take a look and reassure her she'll get used to it. Again, it's another routine clean so while I work, we chat about what's been happening since I last visited.

Wednesday  I get my own housework, some gardening and jobs done. 

Thursday - is pretty much the same as Monday. Lovely chats with service users as I go about cleaning.

Friday - is a little busier.

I have an hour with Audrey. She just needs help with vacuuming and mopping floors. Her daughter is visiting, so I get my work done and leave them to enjoy their day together.

Then off I go to my next visit who is a gentleman that I've been visiting for about 6 months. He had a stroke about a year ago, but thankfully he's making an excellent recovery. He's improving every week I see him. We have a good chat, usually one of his carers will be there getting his dinner ready for him. It always smells amazing! His speech was badly affected from the stroke, so he likes to chat to me, his carers and I have noticed a big improvement since I first met him, his confidence has come on in leaps and bounds. 

Next visit is a lady who I shop and clean for. It takes a little time to get a groceries list together of what she would like this week. However, I soon find myself in the local shop gathering the items for her weekly shop. Not much is needed this time so it’s not long before I'm back. I help her put away her shopping and look for out of date items. She has failing eyesight so finds it difficult to read the dates. 

I do the usual cleaning for her, taking extra care not to move things because she can't see. I worry about her tripping over unseen objects and not being able to finds things that I may have mistakenly moved. 

We talk about old times; she talks about working on the land potato picking. Lots of ladies talk about working the farmland around here. Now most of it is done by machinery, how things have changed. However, it's lovely to listen to her stories of her earlier life. I can't believe it’s already Friday afternoon!

 

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