We spoke to Gavin, a Care Assistant, who has been working with Cera for the last six months to see what a typical day really looks like for a carer and why he chose to move into a career in care.
Gavin’s route into care was largely down to the fact he needed flexibility with his working hours. With a 14 month old son, and him and his wife living away from family, he wanted a career that would fit around his parenting responsibilities.
Although Gavin already had a friend working in care, he admitted he didn’t have the best understanding of what it would take to become a Care Assistant. Gavin was worried about moving from a job that felt relatively stable but applied for a job with Cera, got an invitation for an interview, and thought there was nothing to lose!
With his eyes opened to the industry, it looked like a great career path for him. His background in sales and customer service came in handy in terms of transferable skills. Take a look at our blog about transferable skills for care.
‘You’ve got to be able to put yourself in people’s shoes. In a lot of ways, even though I don’t know what they’re going through - as a human it helps’
Gavin’s work is split into two-week runs. On Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays he works between 7:00 am until 9:00 pm and on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Fridays his first run begins at 4:00 pm and he is home for the evening by 9:00 pm. A typical day could look like this:
Gavin gets up at 6:30 am with the morning shift beginning at 7 am. He will visit 7 or 8 service users, 4 of which would be a ‘double’. A double is a shift where he will team up with another carer to carry out the necessary tasks. The morning shift will end by 9.30 am/10:00 am.
During the morning run, Gavin could be assisting service user’s out of bed, showering and helping them get dressed and making them their breakfast.
Gavin heads back home for his break before his lunch run begins at 12 pm. Again, he would visit 7 or 8 service users but all of them would be carried out by himself as the tasks are less demanding.
Some tasks on his lunch run would include making food, washing up and bathroom trips. The lunch run would be completed by 2:00 pm and Gavin would go back home for his second break.
The afternoon run is similar to lunch. Starting at 4:00 pm and finishing at around 5.30 pm/ 6:00 pm.
On the afternoon run, he could be assisting his service user’s with any hobbies they may enjoy such as word searches or colouring in. He may also carry out any household chores such as washing clothes or changing bed sheets. Gavin then would head back home for his final break before the evening run.
Starting at 7:00 pm and ending by 9:00 pm at the latest. On the evening runs, Gavin will make sure his service users are settled for the evening ahead. It might be that they have a wash before bed or a cup of tea and a chat. Depending on person to person, he will make sure that each of their needs are met.
As Gavin chose a career to fit around being a parent, on his breaks he heads back home to pick up ‘Dad duty’. He spends time with his son, carries out any errands around the house and when the ‘wee man’ is napping, takes some time to relax.
In his spare time, he focuses on his well being. Even though Gavin mentioned he always manages at least 10,000 steps a day, he recently bought a second-hand bike to help keep active.
'Mental well being has been something I've been working on quite a lot'.
Stand out moment
When I asked Gavin for a moment that stood out for him, there was a definite answer. One of his clients was a couple, one hadn’t been very well and the other suffered from dementia. He worked with them four mornings a week, where he would see them at the same time and carry out the same tasks.
‘We could read each other’s next moves. I knew what they wanted on their toast, I knew what order things had to be done in. They were so happy.’
Gavin mentioned how their family would tell him what a positive difference he was making to their lives. They started to get better for a while until about a month ago when the wife, unfortunately, got a bad back and ended up on morphine.
Due to the changes in his wife’s health, the husband’s dementia started to deteriorate. He would ask Gavin what he could be doing to help but Gavin reassured him by telling him that his job was just to be a husband.
She was hospitalized and he got ill, due to the fact he wasn’t looking after himself, so their family made the decision to put them into residential care.
Despite the situation, the feedback from the couple was unbelievable.
'It felt really good that I had made such a difference to them. When they first got to the home, the first thing they said was - When’s Gavin going to come?'
Gavin mentioned how he had a card from their family on display in his living room.
'I never thought I would get so, I don’t know if “attached” is the right word, but it sort of is! I’ll always remember them.'
Gavin explained how becoming a carer was a great move for him, not only for his lifestyle, but he felt happier with his work/ life balance. We hope this blog gives an interesting and informative insight into a day in the life of a carer at Cera. If you’re thinking about a career in social care, find out What Makes a God Care Assistant.