What does it take to be a Care Support Worker? This month, Fiona Mitchell talks to one of Crossroads Care’s longest serving members of staff, Gaye Goulding, about her 16 years with the charity.
“I’ve always been motivated by kindness,” says Gaye. “Before I had my children (30 years ago) I worked in a bank, and sometimes when my boss had time off, he’d return and joke, ‘Who have you given an overdraft to this time, then?’
“Needing flexible working hours to fit in around my children, I went into care work, and it was here I found my calling – caring for older people. I was in awe of their wisdom and strength, and became absorbed in their wonderful lifetime stories.
“I’m now the Adult Senior and Caring Café Lead – a friendly meeting place for carers and those living with dementia. My role here involves planning and overseeing everything – setting up the room and arranging entertainment such as quizzes or making sure a musician has all they need for a great performance. As the resident flower arranger, I might also be setting out blooms for everyone to turn into their own arrangements.
“I’ve had a long career in caring, but the longest job I’ve had by far is for Crossroads Care. I get real satisfaction from what I do, knowing the difference we make to people’s lives. The team are like family, and we strive to provide high-quality services that meet
“A typical day in the life of a Care Support Worker is varied. No two people have the same care needs, so you might be sitting and reminiscing with a person living with dementia or making lunch and putting a wash on. We also assist with personal care needs. Giving someone dignity and privacy is such an important part of our role.
“Care work centres around building human connections and making a difference. Nursing didn’t appeal to me as I wanted more family contact. At Crossroads, we look after the whole family – it’s not just older people but also children and young people with health and social care conditions.
“The most important quality a Care Support Worker needs is patience, to step back and look at what’s happening for the carer and the person they care for. To give them time and a listening ear is so valuable and rewarding.”
To find out more about becoming a Care Support Worker with Crossroads Care, visit: crossroadscarerk.org/join-us/
is Media and Communications Officer at Crossroads Care Richmond and Kingston. She is also the author of two novels, The Maid’s Room and The Swap.