Sheila Doran is the Comfort Keepers Wicklow Carer of the Year and says she is so proud to be representing the Wicklow office that it is giving her goosebumps. Sheila has been worked for Comfort Keepers for three years. She previously worked as a beauty therapist and it was through working with the Alzheimer Society that she discovered she would like a change in career.
Sheila works between 30-36 hours a week which involves 22 hours of daytime caring and two sleep over nights a week. During a two hour care visit to a client, Sheila will serve up lunch and help her go to the bathroom. After doing some light housework, they will chat over a cup of tea while looking at old photograph albums or Sheila might paint the lady’s nails. They will either do the crossword together or take a stroll around the garden. As Sheila says, the two hours go past so quickly and then it is on to the next client. She particularly loves having a chat with older people, hearing their stories and memories and coming across something new every day such as hearing old sayings that are strange to us now. One example being “you think you’re the goat’s toe” which means you are prancing around regal-like, just as a goat might toss its head and prance around on a mountainside.
I asked Sheila what does she consider to be the three most important qualities in a home carer. She found it hard to limit it to three but here they are:
- Caring with lots of patience. You have to slow yourself down to their pace, for example, when strolling around the garden.
- You need to be able to hold a conversation at their level. That doesn’t mean talking to older people as if they are a child but being able to treat them with respect, being mindful that their thought processes might not be as quick as they once were.
- You have to be easy going and able to go with the flow. Being stressed or uptight isn’t going to help them relax or feel calm in your care. It’s important to leave your own life behind when you go into someone else’s house and you have to give them your full attention.
I found Sheila to be a very enthusiastic, energetic and easy-going person and I can imagine her clients look forward to seeing her every day. We’d like to wish Sheila well with the next stage in the Comfort Keepers Carer of the Year 2015.