Care assistants look after elderly people in residential homes, day centres or in their own homes. They help in practical ways, such as carrying out household tasks, shopping and preparing meals. Care assistants need to develop caring relationships with old people so reducing their feelings of isolation and generally providing a friendly environment. Care assistants working in day centres or residential homes may organise and join in with activities.
Care assistants usually work a 37½-hour week. Those working in residential homes often work shifts on a rota basis. There are opportunities for part-time work.
The work involves a lot of bending, carrying and helping people to walk. A lot of travel may be necessary for those care assistants working in the community.
Care assistants need to have a genuine interest in people. A mature attitude is essential. Reliable, responsible individuals are required for this type of work. The ability to form relationships of trust and friendship with old people is an important aspect of the work. It helps to be a good listener, and patience and tolerance are essential. Care assistants must be prepared to undertake jobs that may be unpleasant and messy.
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