The Triangle Community Services care staff at Woking’s Bradbury Centre have always prided themselves on the friendly, person-centred, ‘family’ feel of the support they offer the local people they work with. But that’s particularly true in the case of two of their team members: Samantha and Nikita are mother and daughter, with Nikita opting for a career in social care after seeing the difference her mum makes at work, on a daily basis, in the lives of older people.
Samantha, 51, from Sheerwater, has worked for nine years for Triangle Home Care. She is a Care Support Worker. This involves her visiting older people in the Woking area in their own home – especially where friends or family may not be able to stop by regularly – and putting together an overall care package tailored to their individual needs.
“It’s very important that the older people we work with have continuity of care, and person-centred care,” she says. “If you can get to know them and form a bond, they will feel confident about telling you things that help us to help them better, and to get their care package absolutely right. – This means that you can link in better with other agencies to getting them the support where necessary– doctors, social workers, community practitioners, hospitals etc — you are really on the frontline when it comes to their needs.
“This isn’t just good for them, it’s good for their families too – everyone’s a lot happier. So we make sure that we have time to sit down and have a cup of tea and chat with them. I’ll always remember one lady I worked with, who’d had a very difficult time. I made time to get to know her, and after a couple of weeks she, was attending our day centre regularly and was getting her hair and nails done again – she’d got her confidence back.”
Samantha continues: “We always remember that we are visitors into the homes of the older people we work with, and that it’s our job to work around what they want. For example, I might see a rug in their front room as potential trip hazard, but to them it might be a beloved part of the room that they’ve had for many years – a wedding present, or something they’ve enjoyed watching their children or grandchildren play on. So rather than remove it, we might work with them to get it secured underneath, or moved to another part of the room so that it’s not in their direct route of walking but where they can still see it.”
This approach is all about helping the older people that Triangle Home Care Woking works with to stay as independent as possible, and in their own homes for as long as possible. It’s one that Samantha has passed on to all six of her children – daughter Nikita is the fifth youngest:
“I have brought all my children up to be aware that older people should be respected and not side-lined,” Samantha says. “My own mum and her brothers and sisters were, for a long time, able to give them a run for their money on the dance floor – they have lived too, had lives and worked and brought up children – they were not born elderly or in need of support!”
Samantha now sees quite a bit of Nikita, 20, at work as well as at home – Triangle Home Care Woking’s office is situated directly above the day care service at the Bradbury Centre. Nikita had previously been working in retail, but was looking for a new challenge.
“She’s always had a very caring personality, and older people have always responded to her, so I encouraged her to give working for Triangle Day Care Woking a try, to see if a wider career in social care might be right for her, “ says Samantha.
Nikita’s role with Triangle Day Care Woking involves working on a one to one basis with older people who come to the Bradbury Centre.
She says: “I encourage them to get involved with activities, interact with new people and make friends. I take pride in doing a good job: I give them reassurance and a place where they know they can feel safe and secure and welcome – and that any friends and relatives know they are safe and welcome here too.
“Some young people might think that working with older people wouldn’t be for them, but it’s great, knowing that you are helping to support older people to be motivated and stay active. And I am gaining really valuable experience: dementia is something that is going to affect so many of us and our families.
“I’ve always wanted to follow my Mum into doing a caring job – she used to be a nurse before she came to work with Triangle Community Services. At first I thought about working with children, but for a long time now I’ve been involved in helping to take care of my nan, especially when she comes to stay with us at Christmas and New Year – I love taking care of her.
“But I think of all the people I work with and the team I’m part of as a big family of friends. There’s a big bond. I get so much from the older people I work with – they will often share their whole life history, which can be fascinating, but we can also have such a laugh and a giggle together.”
Samantha adds: “I’ve watched Nikita loved her job from Day One; it’s changed her life. I never have to shout at her to get her out of bed in the mornings now; she really enjoys going to work.
“For both of us, we love knowing that every day we’ve had the chance to make a difference to someone. It’s a lovely feeling, when someone’s glad to see you and hear your voice – that’s the power of happiness!”
Nikita’s boss, Triangle Day Care manager Francesca Simpson says: “Here at Triangle Community Services, we are part of a wider team who will always try and help each other out. But there is also a lovely bond between Samantha and Nikita.”
We’re recruiting, come and work for Triangle Community Services in Woking and spread some magic in the lives of older people. With excellent benefits and competitive pay join our team of hard working, caring professionals and become a home care or day care worker for Triangle.
Triangle Community Services is a subsidiary of the charity Friends of the Elderly. It offers care and support to help older people enjoy a fulfilled life, socialising and trying new activities. To find out more, click here.