For Carol Stewart, becoming a group home worker was a logical career choice. She has been a caregiver and volunteer with the handicapped for most of her life. Carol has worked for the Association for the past year and a half, but her experience with the disabled more accurately spans thirty years. Carol’s brother is handicapped and she was always very involved in his care.
Carol says that most days when she comes to work, it is just like her life...shopping, cooking and engaging in conversations with co-workers and clients – these are the things she likes and would choose to do in her personal time as well.
Realizing that she cannot fix the problems she sees the clients deal with is the most difficult aspect of her work. Carol says that was something she knew from the start, so it is no surprise.
Carol describes a good work day as one where she can take a client out for a few hours, enjoy a lunch together and then spend some relaxing time at a local park. She knows that such a day gives a lot of joy to the clients as well.
Personal care can be a challenge with some clients and for the most part, Carol finds that most clients are appreciative of the care rather than reluctant, despite the fact that they are facing a loss of privacy. Carol is comfortable with that side of the job, having helped her brother for so many years. She was the most likely one of the six children in her family to help out.
Carol’s advice to those new to working in a group home situation is to be open to the experience. It’s a lifestyle.
Try to incorporate the group home life into your own life and try to enjoy it all. There are difficult or unpleasant jobs that must be done but they are also the things that must be done in your own life. The rest is just there to enjoy.