No two days are the same in the care and support sector - Lisa and Greg’s disability support story
If you are kind, patient and want a rewarding, person-centred job, the care and support sector has lots of opportunities for people just like you.
According to disability support worker Lisa, these are the most important qualities needed to be a support worker for people with disability.
For the past six years she has been supporting Greg to achieve his personal goals and lead the life he wants.
Greg, who has cerebral palsy, is a talented artist; his work is featured in the Koorie National Trust and in a number of exhibitions. He has a studio space conveniently located a couple of doors down from his home.
Greg is also part of a Melbourne theatre group, plays balloon football, enjoys getting out and about, COVID permitting, and loves to introduce his support workers to his Aboriginal culture.
“Supporting Greg in all his activities brings me joy and satisfaction, and I feel good because I know I am helping him,” says Lisa.
“Each time I see him, it’s more like catching up with a friend than doing a job.”
Both Greg and Lisa agree that it’s vital to take the time to build the relationship and rapport between the worker and the person they support, so they understand each other and develop the trust necessary for a successful partnership.
“When I first started in this role I had to really listen to Greg and tune in to who he is, what is important to him and what he hoped to achieve with my support,” says Lisa.
“Every person you support is different and taking the time to get to know them makes all the difference between being able to adopt a genuine person-centred approach to the role or simply being task focussed.”
It’s important to Greg that his support workers take an interest in the same things as him and that they want to learn about Aboriginal culture.
“I think it’s important to get to know each other and that your support worker enjoys what they do otherwise the relationship won’t be good,” says Greg.
“Lisa is a good support worker because she has the right nature and loves the job. She is kind, helpful and very patient, and she understands me and what I need to help reach my goals,” says Greg.
Apart from helping Greg with day-to-day personal care and his creative pursuits, Lisa supports him to visit family in Echuca and Geelong. For the past few years, she has also taken him to family Christmas celebrations in Geelong.
“I do a wide range of activities with Greg, so no two days are the same and we are flexible so that if something comes up that impacts our scheduled time together, we adapt,” says Lisa.
“For me, the time I spend with Greg is so personally rewarding. I love to see the look on his face when he is creating his art and performing, but what I enjoy most about my work is that he is able to do all the things he wants to do.”
“Without Lisa and my other support workers I would feel isolated and helpless,” says Greg.
“But with their support I feel calm, relaxed, understood and good inside.
“I think it would be great to have more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as support workers because our culture encourages us to care for family, community and other people.”
Greg and Lisa agree that the best relationships come from matching the right support worker with each person, and where there is a commitment to the relationship over the long-term to build the necessary trust and understanding so that the experience is mutually rewarding and fulfilling.
The care and support sector is a dynamic, growing industry with a wide range of roles and opportunities for people with diverse skills, experiences and backgrounds.
See more stories from the care and support sector.