“Each relationship is unique”
Apr 05, 2019
Feel Good Magazine, The Irish Examiner
29th March 2019
Meet Susan Corkery, who is celebrating 12 years’ working with Home Instead Senior Care Cork South. On her anniversary, Susan talks with Deirdre Murray, General Manager at Home Instead Cork South, on what brought her to a caring vocation and what motivates her in her role each day.
Susan began her career as a secretary in an engineering firm in the early 1990s, after finishing a secretarial course with Skerries College. “Later my career progressed, and I went on to work with Eircom. After I had my third child, a redundancy option presented itself. As my children were small and my husband often travelled with work, I decided to take it,” she says.
In 2006, Susan’s father passed away suddenly. She started to spend an increasing amount of time caring for her Grandmother, who resided in St. Finbarr’s Hospital. “I loved to visit my Grandmother – the hospital was very encouraging for families who wanted to visit and help out. I just loved doing everything from reading a magazine, to helping hand out dinner, to just having a chat,” says Susan. When her Grandmother passed away in December 2006, she met a nurse from the hospital, who suggested she contact Home Instead to enquire about becoming a CAREGiver.
“As my children were young, I started two mornings a week from 9am to 12.30pm. I was attracted by the flexibility, and as my family needs have changed over the years, so has my availability to work. I now work five days a week, from 8am to 2pm. Also, the more care experience I got, the more confident I became, and I welcomed new challenges.”
When asked about the job’s rewards, Susan describes the care journey she went on with one of the clients she cared for the longest. “I commenced caring for her while she was in her early 80s. She was mobile and independent. She was very sure of her days and very clear about what she wanted to do when I visited her – she had her agenda,” Susan laughs.
“The role changed four years ago when her mobility decreased and she presented with memory issues. She moved downstairs and she was happy to make these adjustments because this meant she could continue to remain at home. As her memory continued to decline, we did fun things like introduce a white board so I could write down things to remember each day,” Susan recalls.
“One day I left a note on the microwave with her dinner inside – ‘heat me at 4pm’. On returning the next morning the meal was still in the microwave, which triggered a changing point in the care needs required. I continued to care for this lady for more than 10 years. As her care needs changed, so did the care I delivered. It was a care journey.”
Susan says her role allows her to truly make a difference in the lives of the people she cares for, and that this is valued by both families and their loved ones. Asked what makes a good CAREGiver, Susan says: “Each relationship is unique with each individual, but most importantly relationships are built.”
According to Susan, the ability to listen is one of the greatest qualities a CAREGiver can have. “Ask questions, listen and let the person make their own decision, make them feel important. Something as simple as, ‘what would you like to wear today’, or ‘what would you like to have for lunch today?’ You must have empathy, be kind and treat each relationship differently by understanding that every person is unique to themselves and their experiences, but most importantly of all, listen.”
If you would like to find out how you can become a CAREGiver, or if you want to learn more about the care services Home Instead provides, contact your local office, Cork North 021 430 7907 or Cork South/East 021 500 2190.