Christies Carer Jo Capp has a range of experience as a carer, but her experience of providing live-in care in the home of her clients has highlighted the clear benefits for both client and carer. She tells us about the main differences in her experience working as a Christies Care live-in carer compared to her time working in a residential care home.
There are many significant differences. Working in a residential home fit around my life, but being a live-in carer is centred around your clients’ life and becomes your life, at least during the length of your placement.
Undoubtedly being a live-in carer is an intense job with a lot of responsibility. As a live-in carer, you are usually working by yourself whereas in a care home, you work with at least one other person or in a group, but I feel I have more autonomy over the care I provide live-in, which I like a lot.
There is a very different power dynamic too which is a significant benefit for those that have care at home rather than in a residential home setting. In a clients’ home, you are very aware and respectful of the fact that it is their space and their way of living and as their carer, it is my job to fit into their life. By contrast, when I worked in a care home, I was in charge.
I enjoy being a live-in carer more than I did during my time as a carer in a residential care home.
Before deciding to become a live-in carer, I had been working in a hospital in Scotland as a nursing assistant. I had moved back home, and I wasn’t sure what to do next. My mother knew someone who was working as a Christies Carer who said she enjoyed it and found it a lot less stressful than her previous care job. I already had experience as a care worker and I liked the idea of being able to work on a more involved 1:1 with people who need care, so this seemed like the right path for me.
Becoming a live-in carer was not a decision I took lightly. It’s a role which dominates your life whilst you’re working, and you have to be willing to make adaptations and sacrifices during your placement. I love to cycle which I am not able to do as much whilst working and I’m often away from my family and my cat. Also, I eat very different food with most of my clients than I would usually choose to eat.
But my living costs are much lower than they were when working in a residential home which is great. I can save money and make plans for the time when I’m not working.
Christies Care’s training is renowned for being comprehensive and industry leading. My time on the training programme gave me a realistic idea of what to expect going into someone else’s home to live which was a daunting prospect to begin with. The training gave me the confidence to handle the many different situations that can arise with a client. Knowing that there is back-up and support when you need it at the end of the phone, available 24/7, provides great assurance.
So far, I have had experience of clients with a range of needs and physical and mental disabilities, including dementia. I have also cared for people living alone as well as couples and my clients really enjoy the support and companionship of having someone to care for them around the clock.
Every client is different, and some will be more challenging than others. Putting your client first and thinking about what is best for them needs to be your number one priority, but being able to look after yourself is important too. Spend time talking to friends and family and get out and exercise as much as you can. Talking to other carers often helps too, especially the one you are relieving so there is continuity in the care you provide and a clear understanding of your client’s needs and expectations.
Being a live-in carer is a really rewarding role, I feel there is true value in what I am doing.