Thursday, 3 May 2012

Carers/Support workers

Carers are the people that keep us sane. They are the ones we trust to help us care for Ryan. Most are the most wonderful and caring person that you could ever meet. But if you have never had any experience in dealing with these men and women, here is an insight into this very special world.

Ryan was 9 when we got our first carer. We didn't really know too much about how it all worked except that someone would come into help. The first guy came, toileted and showered Ryan, then when he was finished, came into the lounge room, plonked himself on the lounge and asked where his cuppa was. We thought this must be normal. He would stay for another hour or so.

Other nights he would turn up when he wasn't rostered on because 'I can't come tomorrow night'. This I found unsettling. Due to it being a night when no one was suppose to come, I would be in my pj's relaxing.   He was very touchy, feely with Ryan. Not using a washer in the shower and some other things that didn't sit right. When I rang up to cancel the service, they wanted to know why. I hesitated but they told me that 6 other families had rung that day as well. He was sacked and we were talked into letting someone else come in and show us that what this guy did, was not normal.

The next person was a young uni student. She was very outgoing and professional. We were sad to see her go when she found a job out west. It meant that we had seen, that carers don't expect us to wait on them and that they are here to help.

In the last 14 years, we have had people of all ages, races and genders. The youngest has been 17 and the oldest nearly 60. Some when they first come, have you thinking... 'if I saw you in a dark alley, I would cross the street and be worried'. There are kindly 'mother' type woman, tattooed bike riding girls, christian young men, muso's, long haired 40 year old ex meat workers - people from all walks of life.

One thing that amazes me with them, is that they can do this job. I know that I couldn't and have so much respect for them. A lot of people think that being a carer is an easy job for them. That they get to take people out to movies, shopping etc. Yes that is one side of the job, BUT there is this side. How many people do you know that would toilet an adult? Its not just sitting them on the toilet, but wiping etc. How many would shower another adult? Wash their hair, clean their teeth, adjust their body parts (how something that looks like a plucked chicken, can need so much moving, is beyond me lol ).

We have had one carer for over 10 years now. We have also only had 3 that we have had to get rid of, apart from the first guy. One guy had relationship problems. He would come here, cry for the hour and half and then go home. Meanwhile, we had to do Ryan because he was incapable of doing it because he was too upset. He also talked another client into giving him a car. He didn't get to stay in the job very long. Another guy, would not turn up for shifts because his wife wouldn't let him come. He also didn't get to stay too long.

The third was a woman who was really good at her job. We know that accidents happen and accept that. One night I was out and Peter was in the shed. He came down to find her gone and the kids by themselves. The kids when I got home were in a funny mood. It took a while but finally they admitted that something had happened. When hoisting Ryan, his penis had gotten caught and he yelled. The woman then told the kids they weren't to tell us that it had happened and left early. The accident is not what got her sacked from us, it was telling the kids to lie. That I just don't tolerate.

Carers are told they aren't to become close to clients. Sorry but when you are in someones home 3 or 4 days a week, you become part of the family. Any parties or celebrations they come too. They know more about us than our closest friends and family and we know all about them as well.

At first; well probably for the first few years, we would act like visitors were here. The things that you do when you get home from work like, ripping your bra off, having a shower and getting comfy in your jammies, laying on the lounge vegging out. These things we didn't do since someone else would be in our home. Now I do. Hell we have carers stay overnight 2 nights a week and they have the run of our home while I am asleep lol.

After reading all this and if you still think that carers have good jobs, then remember this. Agencies, as I have said, tell carers they are not to have a 'relationship' with clients or their families. Some of their clients are terminal and when they pass away, instead of the agency telling them, they will ring and say that the shifts are cancelled and the person is no longer a client. They don't tell them that the person has passed away, even if they have been with them for years.

These men and women are amazing!! We are blessed to call them friends and even some of the ones that have moved onto other careers are still friends with us. They have my respect and my heartfelt thanks.