Career switching to care – One business woman shares her story of becoming a Support Worker
Wendy Snowdon is a Support Worker at Livability York House Ossett, a residential home for disabled adults, some with complex requirements. Wendy explains in her own words how ohe came to a career in social care and celebrates the moments that make it all worthwhile.
Have you always worked in social care?
No, the total opposite – I used to have my own business, running a kids’ play gym. I’d never worked with adults or disabled people before. When I sold my business in my early fifties, I had a total change of career. A friend of mine worked here, at this residential care home, and I joined two years ago.
What was that career change like for you?
Well, it was a major thing for me. Applying for a job was scary in itself! But it’s like another family here – very accepting.
What did you find challenging?
I had to do some e-learning on the computer as I hadn’t used a computer at all. I couldn’t even turn it on at first! My colleagues probably got fed up with me asking them to turn it on!
Who do you support?
Our 20 disabled people who live at the home. They range in age from 19 up to mid-60s.
What’s the set-up like?
It’s very well-organised and very good on policies. Our teams are changed around every day so we always have a good balance of skills and experience. I’m a Key Worker for a couple of the people we support. That means I make sure that if someone doesn’t communicate verbally, or can’t physically come to the office, they are on top of their appointments, social activities and in contact with their family, which might be through ‘facetime’ on their mobile or tablet.
What is your approach to supporting disabled people?
You get to know people – you see the person and not the wheelchair. We try to encourage people in a positive way without pushing them. I work with one lady who at first just wanted to lie in bed, and refused to do anything. It’s a long, long process but now she’s lost a considerable amount of weight, she will use the wheelchair and some days she gets her confidence back again. It gives me a lot of job satisfaction.
Do you have any moments you’re particularly proud of?
I work with a number of people in my job. I was Key Worker for one particular lady, a similar age to me, who’d been in a wheelchair for a few years. She hadn’t been on holiday for years, and I took her on the coach to the Midlands. We went to Warwick Castle, went to the pantomime and she absolutely loved it. Working with her has been the kind of thing that makes my job worthwhile – you realise you’re doing something right.