Having spent years as a teacher of English as a foreign language and training language teachers, the last 12 months have proved to be something of an education in themselves for one of newest Extra Hands recruits, who celebrates one year working with us as a carer this month.
Adele Pennington is used to travelling the world and standing up in front of a class, but with opportunities to do both of those limited by the pandemic, she turned her hand to caring, and has had a fantastic experience so far.
“I’ve learnt so much in the last year, it’s been quite refreshing,” she said. “Caring was something completely different – by nature I’m a people person, which is part of my teaching work and all the travelling I do, so that side of things didn’t worry me, but it was all about making sure I could take care of service users properly. Learning about medicines, how to handle people, how to deal with dementia – it’s been quite an experience.”
Online teaching has picked up so now Adele runs two careers, and said the support she had received from colleagues at our Horsham St Faith office, near Norwich, had made a big difference getting to grips with the new string on her professional bow.
“It was a bit strange learning on the job after shadowing other carers, you have to use your common sense and judgement, but you can always call the office if you need help and that’s very good,” she said.
“I feel very well supported. I can call the office and ask anything or share a concern, and they’re brilliant. You’re on your own when you’re out on the rounds, but I’ve always felt backed up, never at a loss.”
Adele was also full of praise for the support of her colleagues, as well as the carers she gets to work with on her rounds. “With some people you can build very good relationships, for the half hour you’re there, you have a genuine conversation and you do genuinely care for them - you’re not just playing a role,” she said. “When you don’t see them, you do really miss them.”
If you were to ask the teacher for her verdict on the past 12 months, she would mark it 12/12.
“It’s gone really well – it was stressful at first, but once you get into your routine, you feel really confident in what you’re doing, and the company have been very good,” she said.
“I now have a lot more understanding of different conditions and family relationships now, so for a step into the unknown, it’s been a great learning experience. If I saw myself as I was 12 months ago now, my advice would be – don’t worry, everything’s going to be OK!”