Caring at Christmas

Article from Winter 2019 edition of Your Reading residents’ newsletter

Throughout the winter, our front-line social care teams are working hard to look after Reading’s vulnerable adults, whether that’s at home or in residential care.

Rebecca McCready (below left) is a Care Co-Ordinator who assesses and reviews an individual’s care needs, and Rebecca Hancock (below right) is one of around 65 carers in the Community Reablement Team, supporting individuals in their homes. They explain what they’ll be doing to care for residents this Christmas.

What’s a typical day like for you?
Rebecca M: It’s very varied, because no two people are the same. We care for adults over the age of 18, including older people, people with physical or learning disabilities, and mental health service users. Everyone has completely different needs.

Rebecca H: We support individuals in lots of ways, from washing and dressing, to everyday tasks in the home. We sometimes take them out for a walk to increase their confidence to get out of the house, such as helping them learn a route to the supermarket. It’s important to build trust with people and it’s vital for the same few carers to visit an individual, rather than a different carer every time.

How are things different at Christmas?
Rebecca M: It depends. Christmas is a lonely time for some, and not so lonely for others who see their family. It can be quieter for us if people are with their loved ones. We assess our individuals in the run up to Christmas to make sure everything is in place for them, that they’ve got enough food and emergency contacts in place for example.
Rebecca H: I’ve worked the past two Christmas Days because it fell on my normal working day but this year I’m off that day. I enjoy working Christmas Day because I love my job and I love making someone’s day better. It is quite relaxed – I try to make Christmas jolly for people on their own, and always wear my Christmas hat. But other people are really sad around Christmas and just want
someone to talk to.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
Rebecca M: Where you have a really good outcome for someone
where other people have given up on them, such as when someone is told they won’t be able to walk again. I’m able to help put in the right services and the right people and try different things, and after some work, they are able to walk again, or gain more independence to manage their transfers independently. When you see an achievement like that, it makes you feel proud of what you’ve
contributed towards because you have supported them in changing
their life for the better.
Rebecca H: I can see I’m making people’s days brighter, encouraging them and giving them the confidence to do something for themselves. When someone you’re supporting tells you how much you’ve helped them it’s a great feeling. It’s a challenging job but very fulfilling.

This winter, please keep an eye out for your elderly or vulnerable neighbours. If you’re worried about someone, contact the Council on (0118) 937 3747 (01344 786 543 for out-of-hours emergencies only) or call the Age UK helpline on 0800 678 1174 (8am-7pm every day).

Winter Watch

If you, or anyone you know, are struggling to keep warm this winter, our Winter Watch scheme offers help to reduce heating bills and suggests practical ways of staying warmer for longer. For information and support, call (0118) 937 3747 or visit www.reading.gov.uk/winterwatch.

Have you had your flu vaccine?

If you are eligible for the flu vaccination, don’t put it off. To check if you are eligible visit:  https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/flu-influenza-vaccine/

David Millward

For media enquiries about this release email david.millward@reading.gov.uk or call 0118 937 4289