Let the Games Begin
I’ve been sitting and planning this post for about six months. Since I’ve been getting carers through an Agency, funding by the NDIA.
Dealing with HR (Human Resources) issues is super “NOT HOT” when getting and keeping good carers. The carers I’ve had the four years from my Council, through to HACC (Home and Community Care) which is state funded. They walk in, they ask “the normal” and they get to it and anything else they might choose to make their little project, when they leave, they might debrief me.
“I did the dishes, the stove, the benches, the kitty litter, the bins and xyz” by then, I’m nodding and shooing them out the door saying “I know, I trust you”.
They arrive, they leave, probably a little over the timeframe I am meant to have them but I know I can trust they did more than needed and they leave satisfied they will be happy with what they achieved and my cheek and personality has boosted them to get through the day. Sounds egotistical, but it’s a mutual thing.
This is why despite having sufficient NDIS funding, I haven’t just opened the flood gate to get ‘God Knows’ how many new carers to cover 16 hours every week. I would go mental.
In six months, I’ve lost count how many carers I’ve had, but I’ve blocked three from returning for various reasons. Some have injured me, some we just had a personality clash (to be diplomatic) and some I just outright couldn’t deal with them anymore. There is one I really liked that I think cancer-wise she moved on.
So, there is a common thread that some act like I need them more than they need me because of me having a disability, is a little bit like I’m a commodity for them paying their bills.
I get it that they do this job because they enjoy it and get some rewards from helping people and nobody would deny they don’t need the money, but I can tell when people work in this industry purely because they see it as a stress-free income.
I can tell when carers vie for my attention, asking coy questions to find out if I have other shifts they can utilise or if a carer must love coming to me because I’m friendly or chatty or (wait for it) YOUNG.
I had one lady, I swear she arrived and she was old. I’m not ageist, however her face was very wrinkly and she looked ‘older than God’. She turned out to be younger than Aunty Christine, she has actually aged well. But this other lady, she was jumping up and down telling me all about how young and active she was because she wanted me to want more of her.
I can also tell when carers prefer to spend time with clients who are intellectually handicapped, because they think they can do what they want, say what they want and they don’t get held accountable.
It’s also challenging to keep or put boundaries in place because I am so friendly and independent. Who knew either of those things could ever be bad traits?
So, carers sometimes come and go very quickly. You can have too much of a good carer and you burn out or get over a good thing and not enough of the awesomeness.
In recent years, if I rang my council and managed to get the ‘right’ person who knew my reasons and standards, I would be able to add someone to my ‘blocked list’ without questions.
Now, they require an Incident report and the first one was an embarrassing incident where I suffered a scraping type of injury about an inch above my “Chocolate Starfish”.
I don’t know why, since I generally dry there myself. But when I asked the trusted Aunty Christine, she swore black and blue (oh, how I love her) and that was that. No more ‘older than God’ carers.
The others, it seems to be, they come to work but would clearly prefer to be somewhere else. On their phones, arranging social activities with friends, doing parenting or maybe just filling in time. Since they don’t actually want to find ‘something’ to do. Having carers is a blessing and a hindrance and while I’m all about flexibility, there are limits.
I can’t arrange my needs around their lives, if it’s dark at 5.10pm – (Autumn currently) the washing comes in by then. So, no can’t have you come early at 2.45pm because it’s too early and the shift is at 5.30pm.
So, the games go both ways and I’m usually the one who puts up with more or goes without, which starts to feel like a human rights issue.