Care Home Hooligan – Part 6

So what did I learn at work today. Several things.

Firstly, that you lose people in this profession more frequently than we’d care to admit or like to think about, but it never gets easier. If you have a connection with that resident, losing them will always sting, just like the first one.

Secondly, that losing someone doesn’t have to be the end of their story. We recently lost a shining light in our home, a wonderfully caring, happy and strong woman. But, just because she has come to the end of her life, doesn’t mean it has to be the end of her story. Here is one nugget of her story continuing. A second is the hearing aid batteries she donated to the Home, she is letting a whole home of people hear and be engaged. A third is a collection of Tottenham Hotspur memorabilia, that to the uninterested football suffer like me has no value, but to the gentlemen upstairs who is an avid supporter is a heartwarming gift.

The third thing I learnt today at work, is that my job is definitely not for everyone. It has to be in your heart, in your nature. And, that if it isn’t you should not be working in this field of work, not only for your sanity, but for the well-being of everyone in that Home. An unhappy resident, quickly leads to an unhappy team and an even unhappier Home.

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Care Home Hooligan – Part 5

Meet the two ladies locked in a battle of wits and cunning over the attention of a smiley but incapable companion

Okay like any good work environment there is always some rivalry for attention and for friendship status with the most popular person.

In a care home apparently it’s no different! We are currently dealing with a fight between two ladies over a third lady. For the sake of confidentiality I am going to change the names. So let’s call them Saskia, Mia and Greta.

So here is the story thus far:

Mia and Greta have been relatively close friends since they both moved in around the same time. Mia can be a little stand off-ish but generally speaking is quite a capable and interesting woman. Greta on the other hand is a very smiley, outgoing and friendly soul. The friendship between Mia and Greta was going well, they spent many an afternoon chatting and eating their meals together. But unbeknownst to them, trouble was on the horizon, in the form of a new resident, Saskia. Saskia is a charming woman, quite conversational and capable with a wonderful sense of humour and need to be busy.

Immediately the challenges begin. Mia and Saskia are in a feud for the attention and companionship of Greta. Mia sneaks in first to get a seat on the sofa with her, Saskia spends some quality time with her over a game of scrabble. It’s a dead heat. Then the rumours begin, Mia has been telling Greta not to like Saskia, Saskia has been accusing Mia of bullying. All while Greta is completely unaware because she can’t remember one minute to the next!

The fight would be all well and good if it weren’t for the fact that the two women who are feuding would actually be much better friends together than with Greta because they both have the capacity to maintain a conversation! Greta although smiley and positive, is very limited to agreeing and giggling in a conversation rather than actually contributing any points, opinions or topics. Both the feuding ladies are fighting for attention in order to break the boredom, and yet they are fighting over someone who is the equivalent of a mirror after taking a good dose of morphine.

New Years Resolutions 2017

So it’s been a whole year since I first made my New Years resolutions blog post. Last year I set myself 3 resolutions, and like the vast majority of us I carry them over to this year as I failed to achieve them last year.

1. Learn Spanish – the forever dream, that forever dies because I don’t have the faith in myself to maintain the motivation to spend real money on lessons.

2. Lose one stone – should have been relatively simple, I had a whole year. And yet, the pull of those cakes and biscuits are unwavering!

3. Stay motivated – this I would argue hasn’t failed me as much, I still feel pretty motivated, just tarnished my time pressures. So this year I am going to remove this off the list.. yay, somewhat of a success!

4. So to have 3 healthy goals I am going to set this years new resolution to read 10 books. I managed 8 last year I believe, so I think 10 is a good target. I spend so much time starting at screens I am surprised I don’t have glasses by this point! So to postpone the inevitable I want to go back to reading, as it really is one of my favourite pastimes.

So here is to 2018, may you be better than 2017, and trust me you have a hell of a lot of work to do to top that corker of a year!

So I Put My Tree Up In November

So this may be controversial, but hey, Christmas is a season not a day….

I am a big believer that everyday you should try and find the good and try and find the happiness. For me the Christmas season is nothing but joy and happiness! Primary example being, endless chocolate and sweets and minimal guilt about eating them all because it’s Christmas.

So much to my boyfriend and parents dismay I put up my tree on the 20th of November and have been enjoying its glistening lights ever since! This post is a month overdue but I have been a little busy preparing a whole care home for Christmas.

This is the artificial tree I bought as I didn’t own one, and I’ll be honest it’s quite beautiful and a bargain! It cost me £20 from B&Q

As you can tell standard artificial tree design to put it up, two big poles to slot together and a tree topper, followed by individual metal tree branches to slot in and puff up.

This is my beautiful tree up and then with my lights that I bought last year in New Zealand. I had to get an adapter for them and I’ll be honest they are being a bit of a nightmare because they keep popping out the socket adapter! However, they are magical and long and will probably last me a lifetime.

Then it was time to start decorating! Everyone knows a tree needs a bit of red! I bought pretty much all my decorations from wilkos because I needed a starter kit. So these berries were £1 and have brought the tree to life.

The Santa and J and K on the tree are obviously not from the set. The Santa was £3 from sainsburys and the J and K were gifts from my aunty while we were in New Zealand.

So there you go, there is my November through to January Christmas tree! ❤️

A New Year Fast Approaching

So 2017 is drawing to a close and my god it feels like both a lifetime and a second.

I started the year in summery New Zealand, working far too many hours for some lovely, and some rather horrendous people. I draw the year to a close back in wintery london, working far too many hours in the most beautiful and wonderful home.

How the two worlds link I am not quite sure, because my little life on the other side of the world doesn’t feel linked to 2017, to my childhood bedroom and snow.

I slept in hostel rooms with 10 people, friends I hadn’t yet met, and now cherish. I made memories and challenged myself and leapt from a plane. I did unimaginable things and brave things and things I don’t remember because there were so many things. I drank, I danced, I laughed, I cried, I worked, I slept, I didn’t sleep, I baked, I cooked, I met new people, I made new friends, I met family, I made family.

And now I sit at home, nearing the end of this magnificent year, wondering how next year can even try to compete with the year I became me, the year I went crazy and sane all at the same time. I have hopes and wishes and dreams for the year to come, I have anxiety and stress for what it brings, I have love and passion for the people I will see.

Christmas is a knocking, so new year will have to wait. I have 35 stockings to deliver and Santa can’t be late.

Care Home Hooligan – Part 4

So my day was going great, Santa’s workshop was nice and calm, we made our lollipop stick trees and chatted, all plain sailing. We had a lovely church service thanks to the local father, then I went and did one to ones and got to know our new residents. Nobody was in a bad mood, everyone joined in and was laughing and chatting away all day, in terms of my residents and me it should have been a perfect Tuesday…. yet of course I have left feeling stressed out and unhappy.

Why you might ask? After such a lovely day do I feel so panicked? Well because it’s not just me and my residents, it’s relatives and staff and head office. My boss was under inspection which meant it had implications for me and my job was being analysed to check she was doing a good job. So I have that report to look forward to tomorrow. Our home manager was asking me for a map that I haven’t had time to do which we don’t need for 2 weeks yet. All the staff had lost their heads and were stressing out and at me. It was all a bit much. Which is such a shame because my actual job in isolation was such a win today.

Care Home Hooligan -Part 3

So we have had a mad two days with 2 birthdays and the start of our festive build up with Santa’s workshop!

We got to see the spectacular play of one of our residents at table tennis, where she yet again wiped the floor with everyone, including her own family! She was glad she got a bit of a challenge in comparison to my not even novice standard!

We have enjoyed far far too much cake or all kinds! The beauty of a Care Home is birthday cakes!

We started our Christmas campaign in the form of Santa’s workshop, where each week leading up to Christmas we undertake a different Christmas craft. This week was pinecone decorations for our woodland themed tree. We dazzled them in paint and glitter and will string them up so they can at some glitz to our lounge.

Christmas is my favourite time of year! So dressing up as an elf and making Christmas decorations while being snug in the cafe blaring out Christmas songs is definitely my idea of a dream day at work!

Care Home Hooligan – Part 2

Halloween at a Care Home is a unique experience!

We have ghoulish snacks, concocted up by our wonderful chef!

We have devilishly good music which gets all our residents singing and dancing in their chairs! Songs from their youth and musical all preformed by a slightly off key and very Halloween singer.

But mostly, we have a laugh, we get everything decorated and doll out little hats and ears and headbands. We get everyone in a room together and dance and sing to our hearts content. We dish out sweets from a skeleton and laugh when it tries to stop us getting the snacks! We dress up like fools for their entertainment even though our hair now feels like straw and would set alight with the hint of a spark!

Care Home Hooligan – Part 1

So as I have found myself back working in care, which is a not at all guilty pleasure of mine I thought I would share my tales of joy and woe as I rush around the corridors of my little Care Home.

Today was our monthly baby cafe, a weird sounding name for a perfectly innocent and adorable monthly mother and toddlers group held at our home so our residents can play with some kiddies and comment on their character. So today was our third, it was the brain child of me and my boss and has been a growing success, each month attracting new mums and babies and even coaxing out more of our residents which is fantastic! But the name was probably not our best decision as we have the running joke that the babies aren’t on the menu!

Of course it being Monday also meant that our weekly knit and knatter group met and managed to finish off the second of our baby blankets for an unexpectedly expecting mum to be. We also tossed around the idea of contacting a local women’s shelter to see if they have any need for baby blankets as we seem to be churning them out much better than our attempts at those for the homeless. That being said the knattering is an important part of the group and the process, it would hardly be fun if all we did was knit!

We also had a game of table tennis on our dining room table, of course just before dinner and after it had been all nicely set! Which didn’t please the carers too much, but hey ho, when the compulsion to play hits you, you just got to go with it! So my table tennis game is improving, although probably not quickly enough for our resident champ who complains that it is exhausting playing against such amateurs, and I can’t blame her, I spend most of the game on the floor searching for the lost ball!

So all in all it was another wonderful day filled with our usual activities and fun. I do prefer days with regimented activities, makes my life a lot easier!

Postgraduate Life

The world is your oyster! Your degree will open doors for you! You will be more employable!

The comments you get before you go university, the comments you get while at university, but soon the rhetoric changes… You get comments like ‘the job market is hard right now’, ‘you don’t have enough experience’ or the worst thing of all, absolutely no acknowledgement at all.

I never realised graduate unemployment was such a touchy subject, but apparently it is and nobody really wants to discuss it. Unemployment is the harsh reality of life, everyone goes through periods of unemployment, redundancy and compete hopelessness, and yet we are trying to convince people they should feel ashamed if they haven’t found a job right away. We pin all lifes achievements and all measures of success on whether or not you have a job in that exact moment. The fact you may have just completed a degree, or been employed less than a week ago seem entirely irrelevant if when asked you can’t immediately give a long boring explanation of what it is you do for a living.

The pressure to be employed, the pressure to be successful, the pressure to move out and move on are exceptional. Everything must move 100 miles per hour and if you can’t keep up, if you can’t secure a job straight away then you are failing. This ridiculous idea that having a degree earns us the right to walk into a job when there will be someone who has worked for 3 years doing hard graft in that field during the time its taken us to secure that piece of paper is unrealistic. We are given these unrealistic expectations, this superiority complex and when we get into the real world, when school abandons us and we realise we aren’t these special people with skills and qualifications. No. In fact we have to start at the bottom because we have no experience of what it means to be an adult, or work in an office or actually work in the field we have spent 3 years writing about.

We need to manage our expectations of what postgraduate life looks like, because its not the series of open doors we have been promised. Its competitive, and we are the underdogs because we don’t have the years of commercial experience, but what we do have is proof of being educated and the ability to learn, and we have to milk that for all it’s worth. We need to stop sending kids off to university with the promise of employment, we need to sell them education with the realistic understanding that when they have completed it they can join the job market at the bottom and use that education to progress quicker up it. We need to tell them that it may take months and months of searching, of being ignored, of failed interviews and countless applications before the first sniff of a job is on the cards, and that we need to save some money up for this period while at university. That we need to be building those CVs and gaining that commercial experience while completing our degrees, that university is a crash course in life and life means working, not just in the library but in the office and the cafe.

So yes, this is a rant about my unrealistic expectations from when i left university and what i have learned 2 years on. That life is hard. That i am still unemployed. That my degree is not worth as much as the 3 years of work experience i got alongside it, but that it does push that glass ceiling a little higher and make my climb up the ladder quicker than my counterparts without the degree.

 

 

Side note:

I got offered a job today, and yet here i am writing this rant because i am debating whether a passion and love for a job is enough of a reason to take a huge pay cut, and i blame my unrealistic expectations for making a dream job less appealing because it doesn’t fulfill my salary expectations.