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  • Writer's pictureKate Bradshaw

Finding the Right Support

If you or your loved one are newly in need of support, whether it be for companionship, medical or non-medical purposes, it can be overwhelming to navigate the various options available.

In this blog we highlight some of the different types of support available and provide some tips and advice on how you can choose the right support team for you.

By no means an exhaustive list, below are just some of the main areas of support offered by agencies and providers.

  • Non-Medical Support – regardless of your age, type of illness or disability, non-medical support can range from help with regular household tasks such as cooking and cleaning right through to transport, shopping assistance and learning new skills.

  • Dementia Care – a general term for people whose symptoms affects their intellectual and social abilities such as memory, communication and problem solving. The most common form of Dementia is Alzheimer’s.

  • Personal Care – this is assistance with everyday tasks such as having a shower, eating, walking or getting out of bed.

  • Respite Care – short-term relief that provides a break for caregivers to reduce stress and re-energise, ranging from a few hours to a few weeks, where a skilled care professional assumes caregiver responsibilities.

  • Companionship – this spans across in-home social activities such as arts and crafts and board games as well as social interaction at events or going on outdoor adventures.

Consider Your Needs

Start with the most simple consideration, do you need medical or specialist support such as regular injections, assistance with showering or using the bathroom or is it more non-medical assistance, such as help with the cooking, cleaning, shopping or gardening? Other support options include;

  • Helping with your personal care (toileting, feeding, showering, teeth cleaning, shaving)

  • Moving around at home – transfers from bed or chair to wheelchair or toilet or shower etc.

  • Building your skills (cooking/making snacks, kicking a football, cleaning/tidying, getting dressed, washing dishes, using a computer, gardening)

  • Helping you try new things or continue existing activities (hobbies, recreation, leisure, employment, sports, volunteering, making friends, learning new things)

  • Helping you make friends and get out into your neighbourhood and into your local town or city.

  • Cleaning, yard-work, watering, filing, laundry, changing beds.

  • Cooking, light household duties, laundry etc.

  • Transportation – driving you around or going with you on public transport.

  • Indirectly providing families and carers time away from their caring role.

Think about whether you need to arrange regular, short-term or ongoing support. Do you mostly require support in-home or in the community or possibly a combination of both. If you can answer these questions this will assist you in finding the right people to support you.

A Support Worker is someone you pay to help you because of your disability related needs, a Carer is someone who is not paid – usually family or a close friend. It can be difficult to find good support workers that “click” with you and your needs, so here are some ideas of where to find potential workers, and interviewing tips too.

Consider the Personality, Profile and Background of Your Team

Once you have a good idea about what you need, consider who it is that will be providing the support. Put together a list of requirements to help you shape the ideal profile and personality of your support worker/s.

  • Would you prefer a man or a woman to support you?

  • What age would you prefer your worker/support team to be?

  • What values do you hold and what are you willing to compromise on?

  • Do you have any specific cultural or language requirements?

  • Would you like your supporter worker/team to have similar interests to you?

  • Would you prefer people who are outgoing and talkative or are you looking for somebody who is quieter and tends to keep to themselves?

  • Are you looking for a support worker who is energetic, thoughtful, calm, assured or keen to try new things?

Consider the Persons Skills, Experience and Availability

Once you have decided upon the profile of the person, it is now time to get into the nitty-gritty of what that person can offer and what are their expectations. Some questions that may help, include;

  • Is the person helping you a local?

  • What are their skills and are they able to assist in teaching new skills?

  • What is your experience with people with disability and/or children?

  • Can you work in the evening, at the weekend?

  • What gave you an interest in working with people with disability?

  • Do you have a disability or care for anyone in your family with disability?

  • Do you have any studies/qualifications (related or otherwise, current or past)?

  • Do you have your own reliable insured transport, licence and clean driving record?

  • Are you OK with my pet cat/dog/bird in the house?

  • What are your interests outside of work/study? Could you introduce any of these to me?

  • Have you had experience of additional medical or behavioural support needs?

  • Are you willing and able to provide personal care support (toileting etc.), and can you do overnight help?

  • Do you have any physical limitations that might make this job hard that I should know about?

  • What is your availability and what notice do you require?

  • How many hours of work are you looking for and are you willing to travel?

A little help and assistance in everyday life can mean you or your loved one are making the most of life, getting out and about amongst the community, learning new skills and making new friends. It also carries the added benefit that family members are less stressed knowing their loved one who needs help has the supervision and care they need. It can be tough to accept offers of help, especially if the help is for everyday tasks that in the past you have completed with ease, such as cooking and cleaning.

General Tips on Choosing Support Workers to Meet Your Needs

  • It is very very rare that any one support worker will have all of your desired qualities. Consider taking on two or three workers, even if you don’t have a lot of hours of work to offer – people do get sick, move on and go on holidays – don’t get caught short with just one worker.

  • Younger student workers often have energy and enthusiasm, but may have limited availability, especially at exam or holiday time. They may also have upcoming student ‘placement’ obligations for their study – ask about these!

  • It is unlikely that your workers will work only for you – keep this in mind and try to book workers for regular shifts, and do this in as far advance as possible.

  • Professional (full-time) support workers may have set ideas about the work you need and ways to do things, and may not be as flexible, but they may also have very valuable experience.

  • Are you looking for community access – someone willing and able to get out and about with you or your child, or are you really looking for in-home support? These activities are not necessarily incompatible, but a young student may not have the domestic and life experience to just ‘notice’ what needs doing and show that initiative (remember *your* first shared house?).

Our team can assist you to develop new skills and experiences that will enable you to lead a fuller life and move towards independence. We work with you to identify your goals and the support that you need to get you there. Our services offer choice, opportunity and focus on skill development so you can reach your goals more quickly. We provide a wide range of services across Sydney which can be delivered at home, at work within your local community. Our experienced team are available to support you with NDIS plan development and implementation.

If you want to find out more click this link.

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