The Day in the life of a community care worker – Sarinya

6:15am: Wakey wakey!!!  It’s time to get going.  Maybe 15 more minuteszzzzz…  OMG… Have to get to my first client on time. Allow about 20 minutes to get there. Up you get and have a shower.

7:10 am: Wheels rolling…  It’s a little cloudy today. I don’t need to wear sunglasses.  I take note of the weather each morning as it’s always useful J

7:30 am: GOOD MORNING, how are you today? Do you have some pain on your right back today? I ask because there was pain previously, and I initiated a massage which he had really enjoyed and also acknowledged that the pain went away. As he indicated the pain was now on his left, I noticed it was because he laid on his left side to watch the tennis. The TV was in an unfavourable position.  I found out that he played tennis when he was young. I told him I once selected to learn tennis as one of my subjects when I was in Year 1 at University.  At my first lesson: I held the racket and hit a tennis ball for the first time with my eyes wide as dinner plates!!!  Off I went to the registrar’s office and changed the subject to Ballroom Dancing instead.  Ha Ha Ha Ha! I made my client laugh. He asked what the weather was like outside, I’m glad I took noticed of it.  J  Every time I see him, I always massage his feet and lower legs to get his blood circulation going and relax his muscles.  I think a massage is probably is helpful for people with Parkinsons, for I notice that he walks better after the little massage. Anyway, I think he likes it as he always says “GOOD”. It always reminds me of my parents too. When I lived with my parents, I used to give them a massage each night before I went to bed.  It was a serious massage for my mum! I count 100 rounds for each part of her body such as each arm, each leg, left back, right back and so on.  My mum loved it!!!  As I reminiscence of the time with my parents, I carried on the care routine with my client, ensuring he is ready for the day .

8:30 am: EERG… school zone time, put the Speed Adviser app on right now before driving!!! Best to drive like a turtle Turtle outline

9:00 am: This is a challenge as the time is limited to an hour, but I like to make sure everything is done nicely. I have my brain tuned and run run run!!!!  I always hope Client 2 is up when I get to her house, but it always isn’t the case. 

Hooray!!! She was up. I hurried to change the towel on her favourite armchair in the lounge room and put a clean towel on it. I put a clean outfit for today in the bathroom. We take time to shower and dress her.  She likes being rubbed on her back.  She always says, “That’s lovely.” Once she is dressed, I sit her in her armchair with legs up, then I cook her breakfast on the stove the way she likes them – Turn the top right stove to 6 and a half, put some milk in a small saucepan and add 3 tablespoons of oats and cook for 4 minutes, then add a handful of sultana bran, mix and turn the stove off, put the oats in a bowl and sprinkle a dash of cinnamon sugar and add some blueberries.  The hot oats are normally served with warm green tea, a glass of apple juice and her medicine. After giving her breakfast, I continue with the other duties, including a load of washing and removing the rubbish before I leave. I always get sweaty here, especially in summer.  This is how I keep myself fit and slim!!!

I find it’s so amazing how a 97-year-old lady can live happily by herself.  She is still very sharp.  She is still well aware of current news.  However, she cannot remember my name, but I don’t blame her.  My name is rather unusual.

10:15am: A quick stop to get lunch at St Ives Shopping Village. Oh wow figs are on special, two packs for $5.  Why not two.

10:30am : Client 3 has been my main client, and  I used to come to her twice a day 7 days a week. However, now we have two more carers assigned to her too in case I am unavailable.  While client 3 is my most complicated client, we work as a team and alter the care according to her condition. One real workout with Client 3 is putting on really tight stockings.  It used to take me 90 minutes when I first started out with Client 3 but now, I spend less than 40 minutes for I am more in tuned with her needs.  Client 3 and I share similar tv programs, naming a few are Grand Designs, Gardening Australia, Doc Martin, Midsummer Murders, and Downton Abbey.  She has also introduced me to news as I didn’t like watching tv before.  Client 3 has lots of knowledge and I find it very interesting to talk to her.  We always laugh together as I like making jokes.  We both have a sense of humour. J Today I gave her a pack of figs and I cut two of them up and put them on the side with her lunch. She was very happy J I carried on with the rest of the home and care chores before I leave.

12:00 noon: I have my lunch in my car before going to Client 4.  It’s getting quite hot now as I eat my almost stale food . Parking at Client 4 is tricky as there is not a lot of shade around and it is extremely hot.

12:30 pm: Client 4 is a perfectionist – like me. Her house is spotless, and everything is in order according to plan.  I know exactly what she prefers, and I feel privileged to assist her.  She always has fresh cut flowers, mainly roses, in her house from her own garden.  Each time I arrive I have a good sniff at them.  She has the most beautiful mature rose bushes for other people to admire.  Today she asked me to clean her fridge which I LOVE doing.  She said I can do anything as she trusts me.  After I cleaned the fridge thoroughly, I still couldn’t take some grime out from the gaps where joints of the fridge met.  I asked for a needle to scrap the grime out.  Client 4 suggested a toothpick – which turned out to be a better idea. WOW!! I never expected her to have wooden toothpicks in her house. It was a surprise and we both had a HAPPY smile.  On the other hand, she told her daughter with joy (who later rang her on the phone) about how well I cleaned the fridge, even used a toothpick to clean small spots where she has not seen.

14:30pm: Remember it’s school zone time!!! Dashed home for 15 minutes to play with our puppy, Jyn.  She was so excited and jumped up to hug me and snapped at my shirt a bit.  Oh dear, she tore my uniform.  That’s alright.  It isn’t that big.  No one is going to notice it, I hope.

15:00 pm: I always get a BIG LONG hug from Client 5.  Once she was waiting for me outside her unit and was locked out when the wind blew the door shut.  I like coming to see her as she has been telling me that she always looks forward to seeing me and sometimes she counts the days.  If an ordinary person like me can make anyone feel very special and happy, I certainly like to be there for them. This shift is frantic. I am constantly working away and get sweaty for a full 90 minutes, but I LOVE it!!!  I always allow about 3-5 minutes before I leave as Client 5 likes hugging me and having a chat to me.  She is so sweet. My normal tasks include preparation of supplements and dinners, clean and tidy the house, and occasionally explaining the letters she receives.

16:45pm: Met up with my husband and my son at a dog park in West Lindfield.  It was a lovely time.

17:30pm: I like to service Client 6.  We get along so well.  I used to go to him more than 8 time a week for about 6 months, but now only 3 times a week.  I know he likes seeing me.  He said so many times when I appears in his front door “I thought you were dead!” We laugh.  When I was assisting him with cleaning and changing the colostomy bag, he said “you’re very good because you get involved really well when I change the bag.” I continue with household duties and meal preparation, followed by getting him ready for bed.

19:00pm: I’m back at Client 3 who I feel very comfortable with.  When we do things over and over, it seems to be easy and fast.  In the evenings, I have more time to socialise with her which I think she enjoys.  I like teasing her and we have some good laughs.

20:20pm: Got home and all my family members were around the puppy, Jyn. She is the centre of our attention at the moment.  She brings lots of joy, laughter and smiles back to our family.  I talked to my family and played with Jyn for a while before having a shower.  I always try to go to bed early but I get caught up replying to friends who messaged during the day.  A lot of time during the day, I would just reply “I’m working,”.  Tonight, I have arranged to get together with my friends next week.  That will be very nice.

I feel very lucky to be a carer as I really like looking after people, especially seniors and little children.  I think I was born to do this job.  I have done different things in my life like marketing consultant, country representative in Thailand for an Australian University, teaching, organising and running a successful chess club, designing and project managing a house build for a friend, and so on. Yet I feel being a carer has been the most rewarding . The other carers that I have met in KOPWA have shown great kindness to me and to their clients as well. I am really glad that the Australian Government has a healthcare package to care for our elderly residents.

G O O D  N I G H T, don’t let the bed bugs bite… zzzzzzz…