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Advice and Support by Care Workers to Adults with Learning Disabilities

There’s more to care work in Winchester than making beds. You could be helping adults with learning disabilities to live fulfilling lives.

Looking after someone with a learning disability can be one of the most rewarding jobs you’ll ever come across. Even the tiniest of milestones represents a huge hurdle overcome, so there are daily opportunities to celebrate successful outcomes.

But of course, there are daily problems to overcome too, and that can lead to frustration. It takes a special sort of person to be able to see beyond the behaviour to the person underneath. It certainly isn’t a job that just anyone can do.

When you work with adults with learning disabilities, there’s much more to the job than helping with personal care tasks, such as bathing and dressing. The needs of an individual can vary quite widely, but in all cases the caregiver is there to provide help and support. How, when and where that help and support might be needed will never be the same for any two service users, so care work requires a strong element of flexibility.

As a carer working with adults with learning disabilities, you’ll need to help them grow, develop and cope with life’s challenges along the way. These objectives can be achieved in a number of ways, including:

Using technology

Digital communication is impossible to ignore and offers multiple opportunities to explore the wider world in safety. From mastering simple technology aimed at youngsters through to learning how to make video calls and sending WhatsApp messages, opportunities for successful outcomes are almost endless.

Learning new skills

Everyone is good at something. It’s just that sometimes a person hasn’t discovered what their special talent is yet. The key to becoming a great support worker, rather than a mediocre one, is in encouraging every service user to discover where their skills lie. It could be painting, drawing, music, or a detailed knowledge about every player in a football team.

Developing coping strategies

Life is always going to have its disappointments, no matter how hard you might try to mitigate against them. And coping with anger, frustration, jealousy and other difficult feelings can be overwhelming for any one of us at times. So an essential aspect of working with adults with learning disabilities is encouraging alternative ways of expressing painful emotions. This can require boundless patience, together with the ability to keep a cool head, even under the most testing conditions on occasions.

Helping someone to learn to handle their emotions, and to express themselves in a way that can be clearly understood, gives both parties a huge sense of satisfaction.

Social skills

Good social skills are what that enable groups to live together in harmony. But what might come quite easily to most of us needs to be patiently taught to many adults with learning disabilities. They can’t always make the connection between their own actions or behaviour, and the effect it might have on other people. So it’s down to the support worker to help, guide and encourage desirable behaviour. Once again, patience is an essential aspect of the work, as is a sense of humour.

The recent pandemic and associated lockdown has highlighted the importance of carers in our society. But it has also shown the impact that changes to daily routines has had on care home residents. It’s been particularly distressing for those people who couldn’t understand why their friends and family were no longer able to visit, due to lockdown restrictions. Support workers have found themselves, and their service users, often struggling to cope with the unusual demands being placed on them.

Lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic will have a far-reaching impact. Care work is no longer going to be viewed as an unskilled occupation, for one thing. And with greater recognition will come better opportunities for further learning, improving qualifications along the way. So if you’ve been considering a career in care work in Winchester, there’s never been a better time to explore the options available to you.

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