Carinity Home Care Toowoomba Lifestyle Coordinator Steph Watson talks about why she loves working with older people in her community:
What inspired you to work with older people?
I grew up in a small country town where older people did not have access to home care services. As my grandparents grew older and their health deteriorated, I helped care for them and realised the importance of older people maintaining their dignity and independence. I show my clients as much respect as I would have liked someone to give my own grandparents or parents.
What does your role entail and what do you most enjoy about it?
My job entails working with clients and their families to plan and provide holistic, person-centred care. This includes care planning, budgeting and liaising with nursing and allied health professionals. I most enjoy meeting many wonderful people, hearing their stories and being able to assist clients to maintain their independence. It really is a great feeling to know you are able to help someone to continue to live a full and meaningful life for as long as possible.
Why is it important for older people to maintain their independence?
It is very important, not only for their self-esteem but for their overall mental and physical health. This is nurtured by family and carers not taking over or doing things for them, but encouraging and giving them the confidence to continue to do things for themselves. This may involve adapting activities and routines slightly to make these goals achievable.
How do you support people living with dementia or disability?
Over the years I have experienced a variety of clients with disabilities and dementia. I was a coordinator for a day respite centre with Alzheimers Queensland. The most important aspect of supporting people to achieve their goals is to really understand the person, their background and their needs. Behind every person with dementia or a disability there are many great qualities and stories. I focus on the person and their strengths, not their disability.
What’s the best thing about living and working in Toowoomba?
Definitely the people! I love the laidback personalities and life stories of people in rural areas. Each person has their own unique story to tell of hardship, comradery and usually a lot of funny ones along the way! Their determination and persistence is incredible.