Wednesday, 4 May 2016

It's cool to be kind: why we should value carers

As I write, my husband is working a late shift as a support worker for adults with learning disabilities. He often isn't at home to kiss our daughter goodnight because caring is a 24/7, 365 days of the year job. It's also a job that doesn't get the respect it deserves. Caring for the sick, elderly or vulnerable is often seen as menial work. People who work in hospitals, nursing homes and social care are often underpaid, under valued and burnt out. And yet the job they do is essential. We may all call on their services at some point in our lives, either for relatives or for ourselves.

it's cool to be kind hand embridered quote

I have so much respect for the work my husband does. He supports adults with challenging behaviour and complex needs. His role can involve being verbally abused, physically attacked and calming agitated individuals. It also involves lots of hugs, laughter and genuinely moving moments. Sometimes all in the same shift. Good support workers can change people's lives.

I also work as a carer supporting adults with learning disabilities through the Shared Lives scheme. I offer day support on a one-to-one basis in our own home. I find it challenging at times, but it can enrich someone's life by offering access to the wider community and it provides families with valuable respite. We both get alot of job satisfaction from our work.

As I said above, you certainly don't do support work for the money. But I sometimes wish that caring roles had more value in our society. Wouldn't it be nice if success could be measured by the selfless acts you carry out? Care staff are the people who care for our Mums, Dads, siblings, offspring and friends when they need help.

Alongside paid caring staff are the army of unpaid carers. And when I say army, I'm not exaggerating. In the UK today 6.5 million people are carers. They often support loved ones who are disabled, seriously ill or require help in old age. They do many hours of unseen work with little respite. Unpaid carers save the UK economy billions of pounds each year. And many are unfaltering in their support, the suggestion that you turn away from a loved one would be unthinkable to them. Thank goodness there are organisations like Carers UK to offer carers support too.

Last year I visited Banksy's Dismaland and I saw this banner in the Geodome display area. I think the sentiment behind the banner is spot on. I would also add we need to value the people who support those vulnerable people too...

protest banner inside Banksy's Dismaland Geodome tent

Anyone can bring more kindness into their life. I love the idea behind the Random Acts of Kindness movement. The quote I love from their website is: “no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted”. I think that's so true. We've all been in situations where someone's kindness, either from a stranger or someone we know, has changed our day, week or even our life.

close up detail of chain stitch on embroidery hoop

"Crafting is my Therapy" is a project I decided to embark on at the start of the year. I wanted to create at least one sewing project a month and share it on my blog. I like to jot down phrases or quotes that mean something special to me. I then embroider the words onto vintage fabric or calico and display them in a hoop or attach to a canvas. I am a big fan of the Craftivist Collective who believe "craft can be used as a tool for gentle activism". I think words can be powerful, they make us think and reflect on certain aspects of our lives.

This month I was inspired to stitch "It's Cool to be Kind" as a tribute to all the kinds acts taking place across the world at any one time. It's a more positive twist on the 'cruel to be kind' phrase. It can be easy to see the world as a bleak place. But there are many selfless people helping and caring for others. Kindness is a trait that is often overlooked, but it's something I value greatly in my own life and in other people.

I'd love to know your thoughts on this subject, either as a carer or as someone who is cared-for. I'd also like to hear about experiences where an act of kindness has made a difference to your life.

Carers UK
Carers Trust
Shared Lives Plus
Random Acts of Kindness

embroidery hoop featuring chain stitch and back stitch

This week I am linking up with these lovely blog:
"Making Home" over on mrscraftyb.co.uk
"Magic Moments" over on theoliversmadhouse.co.uk
"Happy Days Linky" over on www.whatkatysaid.com and www.quitefranklyshesaid.com
"Share With Me" over on www.letstalkmommy.com
"The Truth About..." over on andthenthefunbegan.co.uk
"Blogger Club UK" over on www.cuddlefairy.com and www.myrandommusings.co.uk

"The Prompt" over on mumturnedmom.com
"Candid Cuddles Quotes" over on www.cuddlefairy.com
Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

26 comments:

The messy brunette said...

My son has ssli (specific speech & language impairment)which is a challenge as he finds it very hard to communicate with others & struggles with expressive & receptive language. I really value the people who are teaching him & helping him as he makes his way in the world. So many people can be dismissive & not understand him which breaks my heart. Being a carer is a big deal , i agree it's hard work & often over looked. When I saw your craftingismytherapy link originally it drew me in as I do craft as a form of therapy, keeps me busy & stops my brain from going into worry mother mode ....

Stephanie Robinson said...

Lovely post - and so true. Love the crafting for therapy idea too, and this post reminded me that I haven't done any chain stitch for absolutely ages, and of the dressing table set I made in the 70s which my mum still uses. #makinghome

Mummy Fever said...

What a wonderful read - I've just written something for my health and social care blog about the gender gap in social care so this is also such a reassuring read for me. Thanks for linking to #sharewithme hope to see you again

Amber said...

Lovely, thoughtful post. Before we moved to Italy I used to work for the NHS. Part of my job was to support staff who had caring responsibilities within their family. I was constantly amazed at the number of people who would do a full time job and then go home to the physical and emotionally taxing work of caring for a family member. i actually used to run wellbeing sessions for staff and by far and away the most popular ones were the craft sessions! Keep up the good work.

Katy F said...

I love the idea behind the random act of kindness movement - it takes nothing to be kind and with all the cruelty in the world it just makes a huge difference. Really lovely post, thank you for sharing in #HappyDaysLinky x

Sian QuiteFranklySheSaid said...

Your stitching is so beautiful, so delicate. I value kindness too, it makes me so sad how some people have so little compassion for others. Thanks for linking up to #HappyDaysLinky x

Mrs Crafty B said...

Lovely post. I actually just finished a temporary admin post with the Shared Live Scheme in my area. I didn't know it existed until I applied for the role. Such a brilliant scheme with such dedicated wonderful people. #MakingHome

Downs Side Up said...

Such a vital post, we must value our support workers and the incredible job they do. Thank you to both of you. x

Jessica Powell said...

I love that embroidery hoop! It sounds like a great scheme - carers really do get overlooked so much. It's such an important job, but it isn't really valued at all when you look at the pay, and the 'low skilled' perception. I'd say it takes a lot of skill! #thetruthabout

Jeremy Barnes said...

My wife and I are both X Ray techs. We don't spend a lot of time with each patient doing hands on care, but I certainly can relate to your point about hospital work being a 24/7 need. I', very rarely home to put my daughter to bed, an issue that will need to be addressed as she heads off to full time kindergarten in the fall #thetruthabout

Ellamental Mama said...

Lovely post, it's really valuable work both you and your husband are doing. You're so right that this work should be more valued. It's such a shame it isn't. Like you say we will all rely on carers at some point in our life. Well done for all your great work!

Jenny Ripatti-Taylor said...

What a great idea for the random acts of kindness I think so many should live their life like that and the world would definitely be a better place. It takes nothing to be kind and only seconds even if it's just a smile to make someones day and it's all about paying it forward too. Thanks for linking up to Share WIth Me. I hope you will continue to link up when Mummy Fever takes over SWM on June1st. She is an amazing blogger and great blog supporter too. #sharewithme

Samantha P said...

I agree that it really is sad that our society places so little value on jobs like caring, and less so teaching and nursing - traditionally female roles. It bothers me massively that a carer is looked down on and underpaid whilst a city banker who might be totally selfish and self-centred and never care for another person in their life is being valued and rewarded massively. I am really sick of having to live with a government who's underlying agenda (it seems to me) is to do away with the Welfare State. I can't think of any random acts of kindness that I've experienced with regards strangers but I feel that my friends and family make my life worth living with their care and acts of selfless kindness. Thanks for linking up to #thetruthabout

Elizabeth - Simply Blossoms said...

When I started working in the voluntary sector over a decade ago I was really shocked at how little support workers, social workers, carers were paid given the amazing work they do...work which I bet so many of us simply couldn't. I have so much respect for them. Random acts of kindness are very special and can mean such a lot. x #craftingismytherapy

Maddy@writingbubble said...

Such a lovely post and so very true. Carers should be valued so much more highly than they are. I was speaking to someone the other day who used to work in a psychiatric unit. He was so unsupported in his role he ended up having a nervous breakdown after one particularly bad attack by a patient one shift. I think it takes a really special person to do that sort of job. Good on you and your husband. As for little acts of kindness... sometimes it's the tiny things that can happen numerous times a day that make a difference overall. Like other drivers making space for you to pull out when they don't need to. Random smiles and hellos from strangers too - we get a lot of that round here and it's lovely! #theprompt

Me, You and Magoo said...

Thank you for all the lovely comments on this post. It's great to hear other people agree that carers need more respect in society. I'm not sure how we've ended up in a situation where those who care for vulnerable people are often some of the lowest paid & most stressed out members of the workplace. I hope it changes for future generations...

Annette, 3 Little Buttons said...

It is very cool to be kind. I think in some professions it is a must have quality. The smallest thing said or done can have such a big impact on someone. Here's to a week full of kindness #candidcuddles

Kerry-Ann said...

Carers do an amazing job in this country and, more often than not, tend to work 'behind the scenes'. They deal with other people's harsh realities everyday and I can only imagine how emotionally draining it must be at times. Thank you for all that you and people like you do and know that there are people out there who really do appreciate all the work you do!

Your craft work is beautiful too...such a great idea! x

SENCO Cat Herder said...

What a truly inspiring and deep post for "The Prompt" and I know only too well the toll "caring" can take and the disparity of pay for those who give the most in our society. My husband who has had to work hard in "the city" for most of our lives has always said that it is my work that gives back to society and that he is happy he can support me to be able to do that as his contribution - certainly I could never have raised a family on my wages alone!! Crafting is also my relaxation and therapy and I think I'll be checking out the other links you have mentioned :)
Special Teaching at Pempi’s Palace

Jenny Evans said...

I love "It's cool to be kind!" I feel like I should get that on a T-shirt or frame it in my kids' rooms. :)

#ThePrompt

Sara Murray said...

Carers really do such an amazing job; it's hard and often thankless, but they do it anyway. They should be valued more. It really is true that little acts of kindness can make all the difference. It is definitely cool to be kind. Thank you so much for sharing with #ThePrompt x

Cuddle Fairy said...

Lovely job with your stitching! I totally agree with both quotes - especially the one about the mark of a society is how we treat our most vulnerable members. Carers do amazing work & should be paid accordingly - same goes for a lot of people who work in health care & don't get the recognition or pay they deserve. Thanks so much for linking up with #BloggerClubUK - sorry for the comment delay, I had no electricity & hence no wifi yesterday.

butterboop22 said...

My son overheard me speaking about how my profession is underpaid. He quickly remarked "But mom you are making a difference." So true. Know what you are doing is beautiful!

Me, You and Magoo said...

Thank you all for your lovely comments. I'm glad there is support out there for carers...it's heart warming to know so many of you value the work they do.

Amy Halls said...

So true, so true - I've thought so many times that the value and importance of work such as this is simply not reflected in the pay. Knowing you make a difference through what you do however is priceless. What lovely people you are.

Amie said...

It's so lovely that you have so much respect and admiration for what your husband does. I know a lot of people may have a problem with the hours etc. Lovely post :) #brilliantblogposts

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails