Staff at a local specialist dementia care home have come together to extol the virtues of an often-overlooked role.
Tracey, a care assistant at Harrogate’s Vida Healthcare, said: “I worked in a factory for 15 years, but I got made redundant. Someone recommended this job and I thought no, I couldn’t do that.
“But I am really glad I did. I could not see myself doing anything else now. I absolutely love it. I love helping the residents, and they give so much back.”
Lesley, who is a team leader on Vida’s Woodlands Unit, couldn’t agree more, and explained how rewarding a career in care could be.
“We make a real difference to the lives of our residents,” she said, explaining that Vida Hall and Vida Grange, both in Harrogate, specialise in dementia.
“Dementia is an awful thing to live with, but everything we do means we can make things better for the individual and their family,” she said.
Tracey and Lesley are not alone – many people in the sector, particularly those who specialise in complex areas of care such as dementia, say it’s the most rewarding job there is.
And that’s because high-quality care can change the lives of people living with such conditions as well as their families.
“When someone develops dementia, it is hard not just on the person, but on the whole family.
“Dementia is just a different way of life for our residents and we all have the responsibility to understand that and create bespoke care packages that help the residents and their families,” said James Rycroft Managing Director at Vida Healthcare.
James added that getting someone into the right care environment could slow the development of the condition.
“Because we are specialists in dementia, it allows us to understand where they are on their journey and we can enhance their lifestyle and well-being,” he said.
“Understanding someone’s dementia and seeing the comfort your care brings to that individual is an amazing achievement. All our staff find it so rewarding.”
Despite the work being so specialised, it sometimes isn’t seen as a career.
“I think there is an assumption that it’s low pay, that there’s no development of roles or career progression. But we pay exceptional rates and invest in training and development because we understand the value of qualified, capable staff.
“They are the blood line of the company,” said James.
Asked who makes the best carers, James said the most important thing was kindness.
“That’s the fundamental thing. We also look for patience, empathy and an understanding of the individual resident. All of this will enable people to deliver the person-centered care we pride ourselves on.”