Companion Based Care is my main job at the moment. I never thought it was something I would do; it literally just happened. I worked at the Wycliffe Medical Practice, Lutterworth, as the IT Administrator for 8 years & was ready to move on. I was offered a job working as PA & Administrator at GForce Martial Arts, Rugby, which everyone thought would be a dream job for me but it didn’t work out at all although I don’t really understand why. I signed on & was looking online for jobs & saw an advertisement looking for companions for elders. I used to look after my Grandmother, I loved her so much, & everyone, even the nurses in hospital, said I was amazing at looking after her so I applied because of that.
Katie, the recruitment lady, sent me an email, I called her back & she was busy, I said that was fine because I too was busy fussing Dixie then Katie told me about her cat & invited me in for an interview. I went in for the interview, we talked about cats & Katie arranged for me to come in for training the next week. I found the training really difficult because we had to hand-write all the workbooks. In the end I kept cherry-picking off the questions I could do & ended up with a few that I didn’t understand which Katie helped me finish off. After that the scheduler arranged for me to start meeting clients & I met my first clients.
I felt anxious meeting the clients at first because my senses are very strong & I’m not a touchy feely person so it takes me a while to get used to each client & their home. After a couple of visits I started to bond with the clients & their homes & we started to have a lot of fun together. Although there can be a lot of routine to be done we get to talk & banter all the time & if there is time left over we get to work on fun activities or pampering or nesting activities, usually doing things around the house that the clients are not able to do themselves; it makes them feel really happy when we achieve things together.
I worked with a lady who wanted to get her house back to ’normal’ and get her routine back. She was suffering terribly with Alzheimer’s type Dementia but when she had been seen in clinic they said they would not give her any medication because her weight was too low. I made her lots of fresh food, steamed vegetables, fishcakes, salads to help her gain some weight. She also had terrible problems with her vision. One day she wanted to look through her medical folder & we found a letter which helped us understand her vision a lot better. Combined with the dementia, the vision was causing a lot of distress. It helped a lot learning that the lady could see more clearly in the right visual field & it explained why she would tend to put most things on the right side of the fridge & often could not see things even if they were almost directly in front of her. In the end we managed to get a prescription for dementia medication & that helped a lot. Despite all the obstacles we had loads of fun times, we went shopping, we sent Christmas cards, I tidied & cleaned around the house, I helped the lady with her pampering, dressing smartly, showering & blow drying her hair. We did everything together. Eventually she had to go into care but we definitely made the best of the time we had together.
I also made excellent progress with one of my Nonagenarian clients. I worked with her for almost 2 years & we had to overcome a lot of hurdles in that time. We are both fighters & each time we encountered a hurdle we made plans to overcome it. The lady has had falls, flu, UTIs, been in hospital, been in care, but we have fought through everything making sure she has everything she needs to live Nonagenarian life to the fullest.
One of my clients lives with his wife and she loves it when I am with him because I can make him laugh & smile. The client has Alzheimer's and especially loves it when I demo my kickboxing. He is a complex client but is happy being at home & spending time with his family, like me, so we just make it all as much fun as it can be for him.