Diana Cairns

Patricia White's carer

“As a live-in carer, companionship is just as important as the practical support I provide. That involves finding out about a person’s interests because that’s what is going to best help to keep them stimulated, motivated and happy.”

She recalls: “I worked for a 106-year-old lady who could neither see nor hear very well. But of course she had a long lifetime of memories, including those about her garden. So, I would talk her through the visits of squirrels in her garden and then make up stories about those squirrels.

“I love to try to inspire the imagination of the people I’m looking after. To do that I think one sometimes has to have the same enthusiasm as if you were trying to inspire a child. On the other hand, I’ve also had very intelligent, learned conversations with clients – it just depends on the client, their interests and their needs.” South African Diana is a self-employed live-in carer and is matched with her clients through introduction agency, Patricia Whites. She is full of praise for the ongoing training provided by Patricia Whites: “No matter how much experience you’ve had as a carer you never know everything and we get very good update training. I’ve now done four care courses and I just learn more and more at every one I attend.”

She also believes working in partnership with clients’ families is crucial as they often play such an important role in care and how it is provided. “My work is so rewarding because in doing what I can to improve the quality of life of the client I am also giving the family peace of mind.

“The family can help me understand the individual care their loved one needs and, with a little bit of compassionate education, I can help them understand certain situations.”