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A typical day in the life of… Ngarie Cowley
Ngarie Cowley is passionate about her work. She has been a caregiver for Home Instead for four years. Her efforts have been recognised by the National Caregiver of the Year award, for which she has been a finalist two years running, winning the prestigious award in 2010.
When asked what a typical working day was like for her, Cowley responds, “Well, no two are the same – but they are. I do anything from house work, to showering, high needs dementia, companionship, and stimulation, to sleepovers and convalescence. I love the mix. While I will happily do 24-hour clients, I prefer having a mix of clients with varying needs.”
Every client has different requirements, and Cowley’s mindset changes accordingly as she moves from one client to the next. Some clients are just for an hour, some five hours, and sleepovers vary according to the family needs.
“You just change as you move from one client to the next, as they vary in how they like to be approached. Some like a ‘quiet, get on with it’ type attitude, while others like to talk about their day, what’s happened, their life. Some are a bit grumpy and you have to turn that around. You just work with them and make the difference in their day. I love it and can not imagine doing anything else now,” says Cowley.
Cowley admits some clients are more trying than others.
“I have to be honest – when you have a dementia client and it takes an hour to get them to get out the door for an outing as they have had to check their handbag 40 times, that everything is locked, etc. Well, that is when I often am working my hardest, but you just work with them patiently. Then we get out that door, their focus changes, you get the stories, and you make the difference to their day and lives. It is just wonderful,” she says.
A typical day sees Cowley up at 6.30am and on the road by around 7.30am. “Usually, I am finished by 4.30pm to 5.00pm. Sometimes, I go back for a sleepover, but it just varies on what is happening with clients,” she says.
“One of my frustrations is when my hours drop due to losing clients when they have been rehabilitated or passed away. Otherwise, there is no frustration. I would not like to only do housework, or high needs, or any particular kind of client. Personally, I need the variation.
“What I know is ‘homecare’ is the best thing that could happen to these people. We change their lives on a daily basis. To see their faces light up when you walk in the door. The majority just do not want to leave their homes. The thought just about kills them. I see them respond so much more to the care in their own environment. They are just happier because they feel they have control. I only help where they need it. I fill the gaps and let them do whatever they can and want to. It is their home, we are there to guide, prompt, and assist. It just amazes me what these people are capable of doing, at times. They don’t mope about; they try to control their day and what happens. While this is not always possible, I truly see this business as being the best thing for them.
“I love the elderly, their stories and wisdom. I also enjoy working with their families to relieve them a little and learn from them as well. I couldn’t imagine another job.”
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