Many of the carers we welcome to our team have had their own experiences of supporting their own families. For Lise, a care assistant in St Albans, it was after her mother experienced a fall that sparked a series of events that led her to Helping Hands.
Lise shares how she came to hear about Helping Hands when she was at a crossroads in her own career, and how she’s found the support of her manager to be just as good as the support that her mum receives at home.
Finding the right care for Mum
It was some years ago when Lise’s mother (pictured here with Lise) experienced a fall. Having severely injured her shoulder, she was submitted to hospital to receive treatment. While her mum was in hospital, Lise recognised that she’d need some extra support for when she returned home.
Lise got in touch with Helping Hands to arrange regular visits through her local branch in St Albans, providing some help at home to support her mum with day-to-day activities. With the help of this dedicated support, Lise’s mother eventually recovered enough for her to start living independently at home once more.
However, Lise later started to notice that her mother was having difficulties with her memory. A scan revealed that she had developed vascular dementia, possibly as a result of the fall. She was especially concerned that her mother was finding it hard to keep up with her meals and her daily routine.
As it became apparent that more support was needed on a regular basis, our live-in care team helped to match her mum with a live-in carer to ensure there was always support at hand.
Inspired about a career change
Around the same time that Lise’s mother started receiving visiting care, Lise herself was beginning her own journey with us.
She shares, “Joining Helping Hands became a choice and a change in career following redundancy after 25 years. I had always done customer care, and my previous role gave me situations during which I had to think outside of the box. It involved talking to people in quite desperate situations.
“Once Mum was diagnosed with vascular dementia, I wanted to understand and learn more. Helping Hands, with their expertise, was my way forward and an opportunity to understand about a terrible condition to which more and more people are experiencing as we are all living for longer.”
Keen to help families in a similar situation to the one she had experienced with her mother, Lise applied to join our team in St Albans. She passed the training with flying colours and took great pride in delivering an excellent service each time.
“Lise is one of the most caring, kind and considerate carers we have,” her now-manager Sarah Bland explains. “She always goes the extra mile and is always happy to help.”
Lise talks more about why she chose to become a carer. “Caring was always going to be for me. If there is a problem, I am always the one people come and talk to. I have a calming effect, but more importantly, I bring a smile. No matter what uphill struggles you have in life, smiling and laughing makes a difference.”
Finding support: in a career and at home
Lise believes that having Sarah’s encouragement has helped her and her fellow carers in St Albans to both succeed and develop.
She’s very complimentary about the difference Sarah has made to her personally in her role and how as a team they’ve managed to give her mother a comfortable routine, with carers who fully understand her mother’s needs.
“Sarah values her customers but also her carers,” Lise shares. “She supports us in every way and is always there for us to talk to, no matter what time, day or night. She’s always encouraging us and praising us when we have done well. Thanks to Sarah, the branch feels like a family.”
Like so many of the families she herself supports, Lise has found caring for her mother to be an emotionally challenging time, but Sarah has been on hand to help in any way that she can.
“My role as a carer is sometimes very challenging, as looking after people in various stages of dementia only makes me think about my Mum. It can be heart wrenching at times.
“I treat all of my customers with respect, just as I would do my own Mum. The role is rewarding and challenging but if I leave a customer’s home and they are smiling and asking, ‘When will you be back?’, then I know in my heart I have helped and perhaps brought a bit of happiness.”
One of these customers is pictured here. Having previously received regular visits from the St Albans team, today this lady has a dedicated live-in carer. But having developed such a good friendship with one another, Lise regularly drops in to keep the continuity in this lady’s life.
Lise adds, “Having the support available has been so valuable in my role. I’m really enjoying my job!”