you are supporting a gentleman in a lone working setting when the pandemic hits
He has diabetes and needs specific food, the online deliveries are weeks away, and you need it now. He can’t go out, and you can’t leave him.
What would you do?
Today, meet Aaron, one of our Inspiring People finalists, nominated for supporting a gentleman with diabetes during the pandemic. The person we support was unable to go out due to health concerns, so Aaron went food shopping for him in his own time, and that wasn’t all he did.
- supported him in purchasing diabetic cookbooks and cooking healthy meals from scratch
- ensured plenty of in-house activities as the person was used to attending day services four days a week, so his routine changed considerably
- supported him in staying in contact with his family
- gave his number for colleagues to contact if they had concerns or questions, as the person we support is insulin-dependent
- stayed in constant contact with the district nurses, GP and diabetic specialist to ensure his ever-changing needs were met.
Let’s hear what Aaron has to say about his award:
“I was surprised! Nobody really sees your work when you work alone, so it is nice to be recognised. Even though I am not here for awards, I’m here for the people we support.”
To Aaron, he was shopping for family
“After thirteen years, the gentleman I support is like family to me. He’s one of the reasons I’m still here. I love knowing he has everything he needs and wants and is happy and content. If I can come home with that satisfaction, that’s all I need to know I’ve done my job well.”
When Aaron began with the person we support, the first thing he worked on was diet
He had a bit of a tummy. He loves food and was having quite a few takeaways. Being diabetic, this had to change. He can cook almost independently, so we bought diabetic cookbooks, and now he loves cooking healthy meals from scratch – although cooking sugar-free cakes is his favourite because he gets a cake at the end of it!
He has now lost almost half his body weight, and people always tell him how good he looks. It is a great feeling to be a part of that progress.
Sometimes the people we support may not understand why they are where they are
Aaron has some understanding:
“I know what it’s like to not be with your family. I was born in care. Three years later, my brother joined me. We were adopted when I was seven. When I was thirteen, I rebelled and ended up back in care. I’ve been on my own since then until recently. My birth mum and siblings I never knew about found me through Jeremy Kyle – I met them on the show! They live in Somerset too, so I’m in contact with them now, and things are good.
This is why I love my job. I’ve been through hard times and have much to give to the people we support. I like looking out for new colleagues too, helping them to feel at ease, even if it’s just that they know I am at the end of the phone on my days off.”
Supporting one another makes life easier for us all
“Being able to talk to someone makes all the difference. I know what it is like to feel alone and close yourself up, but talking is good. Don’t ever bottle anything up because the best way to resolve an issue is to speak about it, whatever it is.”
How did Aaron become a support worker?
“I was doing Prince’s Trust awards, and one day we ended up building a sensory garden in a day centre, and the staff said I was a natural with the guys and I should go for a job – that was 22 years ago now, and I think I will be here until I retire in another 22 years!”
What does Aaron have to say to someone who is thinking about doing support work?
“If you like a challenge, give it a go because this job has them! You get lots of training and excellent experience. The organisation are incredibly supportive, as are your colleagues, and sometimes you have so much fun it doesn’t feel like work at all.”
Do you have the ingredients of a great support worker?
And if you know someone who already works for us and deserves an inspiring people award, why not make their day and nominate them here?
The Dimensions group (which Discovery is a part of) has been officially accredited as one of the UK’s Best Workplaces by the Great Place to Work Institute for two years running. Additionally, this year, we received a “Wellbeing” award and a “Great Workplace for Women” award.