Spare a thought on Christmas Day as you sit down to watch the Queen’s speech or prepare to tuck into your turkey, for all the care workers who are putting the needs of others before themselves this festive season.
It is estimated that a staggering 176,000 care workers in the UK will be working this Christmas Day, more than any other profession and one that is sometimes overlooked. Yet, it is a particularly important time of year for care workers, who provide the much-needed routine, continuity and a familiar face for the most vulnerable people in our communities.
We spoke to some care workers at The Fremantle Trust about working on Christmas Day and this is what they told us:
“Everyone is in good spirits on Christmas Day. We wear Christmas jumpers or Christmas tops instead of our uniform to really get into the Christmas mood. We decorate the tables, have crackers, watch Christmas films and eat a turkey dinner to make it as much fun for residents as possible.” – Angela
“Last year I worked the evening shift and it is still really Christmassy. We still have presents to unwrap, families coming into visit residents and eat Christmas cake. It is such a rewarding day to work especially as some residents don’t have any family members, we are like their second family.” – Samantha
“I haven’t worked the last few Christmas Days but have chosen to work the coming one as my little boy is with his Dad. I’m really looking forward to it as you can tell what a difference it makes to the residents’ day. There is a real Christmassy feel on the day and everyone enjoys themselves, it doesn’t feel like you are at work.” – Toni
So, if these heart-warming stories inspire you to find about a career in care, Will Shepherd (pictured), CEO at specialist recruitment business Cohesion, outlines some of the skills required:
- Sensitivity – It may seem obvious, but sensitivity is a really important attribute as it enables care workers to support residents with their individual needs at a vulnerable time in their lives.
- Social skills – This is crucial for those who want to become a care worker It can be quite a challenging environment as some residents may be unable to communicate their needs properly. Some residents may have family who are unable to visit and being able to sit down and have a conversation with them can make a real difference to their day.
- Patience – This is a key skill as some residents may be slower than others, need help getting about or have diminished capabilities. They may also find themselves getting frustrated when they are unable to do things they used to. It is important that care workers are able to remain calm and patient, no matter how stressful the situation may be.
- Empathy – Demonstrating compassion and empathy for residents and their family members is essential.
- Good sense of humour – Having a good sense of humour is not only important for the needs of residents but for other staff members as well! Keeping an upbeat and positive attitude will raise the spirits of colleagues working with you and enable you all to deliver a first-class care service.
So why not make a career in care your New Years’ resolution for 2019. Cohesion have also started the #CaringAtChristmas hashtag to encourage families, carers and organisations to share images of those hard at work caring for others on Christmas Day.