The hidden talent of the care workforce

15/05/2017

In Chester Court care home, entertainment is never an afterthought. Care assistant, Janet, tells us how she uses music to help residents express themselves and reach their potential socially.

Music has always been part of my life growing up. My family have always sung and it’s been part of how we shared time. Music can make us think of places we’ve been, people we’ve been with and can bring back both happy and sad memories.

I’ve been working as a carer for many years and I can see the impact that music has on our residents.

“Our entertainment repertoire has become legendary amongst our community”

I work in a home with a fantastic team, always up for fun, and at the end of a busy week we come together and plan how we will make every day count for the people we care for.

Like many people working across social care we go the extra mile. Our entertainment repertoire has become legendary amongst our community, and it brings us together as equals, carers, family members and residents all having fun together.

“It’s good to be together outside the four walls of the home and there is always a tale to tell for many weeks after it”

We also hold events outside our home in our local community social club. This is a big occasion for residents and visitors alike to dress up and go out. It’s a mammoth operation to take our residents to the ‘Stars in their Eyes’ competition, which is becoming a regular event, but it’s good to be together outside the four walls of the home and there is always a tale to tell for many weeks after it.

For those who are unable to join us we hold a repeat performance in the home.

“Creating a community and sharing fun is often the hidden talent of the care workforce”

It demonstrates that the skills to care go way beyond physical ones, including skills to help people reach their potential socially as well as physically and psychologically. It helps us build relationships and create a sense of community.

Creating a community and sharing fun is often the hidden talent of the care workforce. This is after all someone’s home, a place where they should feel happy, anchored and safe. Being part of an extended ‘family’ is all about sharing and having a place where you can be yourself.

For some of the people I care for, connecting through music is sometimes the only way they are able to express their emotion, a smile, tear or just a knowing look. I am often asked by one of our residents to ‘sing my special song’ - we smile, we share a moment and we connect.

It takes a few minutes out of my busy shift but it’s a way of feeling connected for her.

“My enthusiasm is paid back tenfold”

This is an amazing job and I love it. I really want to give my best and make a difference. The smallest acts of kindest, care, concern or respect create the security and safe feeling we all need. It takes very little to give a lot.

My enthusiasm is paid back tenfold as I go home at the end of my shift feeling that I have been the difference in the day of so many. How many jobs have that impact on us? It’s what drives me to do and give more; it’s addictive when you realise the impact you have, what you can do and how that will be received.

Is this self-gratification? No. The gratification is knowing that I have an ability many don’t recognise or realise exists within them. I love my job; I want to do this, I choose to do this. I don’t have the magic touch, I have compassion and that is priceless.

“I am so proud to be part of a team that shares my values, my excitement, enthusiasm and sense of fun”

We will probably all get old, be left behind as those we love leave us and will all seek the need for that someone in our day to make us smile, share a song and a moment of connection. I see that in myself and I therefore know it in others.

I am so proud to be part of a team that shares my values, my excitement, enthusiasm and sense of fun about every shift ahead. The stars in my eyes are the sparkle of the fun ahead.

Janet Percy, care assistant, Chester Court Care Home