Colleagues working with customers in our Independent Living Schemes know that no day is ever the same, and so we caught up with Cassandra, who is an Independent Living Adviser, to find out what a day in the life looks like for them.
Cassandra talked us through some of her duties, and the unique challenges that come from a role where customers often have complex needs.
“Every day is different as we’re dealing with people, and that means their situations can quickly change”, Cassandra told us. “Emergencies can happen of course, but on an average day once I’m in the office I would check for any messages received by Astraline who manage our out of hours emergency pull cord service. If any messages are received, then I will go and speak with the customer that it relates to.
The day to day duties...
“I now also have to sanitise the community areas so that it’s a safe environment for customers, and ensure that it is clean and tidy and ready for use.
"Then I’ll complete building checks which means I walk around my community checking that emergency pull cords work, testing the fire alarm, looking for trip hazards around the grounds, checking gates and doors are all secure, and generally make sure the areas are safe.”
Cassandra explains that in her role she works with lots of customers who might require an extra level of care and attention.
“I always check up on my residents who I am aware are isolated”, she says.
“I try and have a chat with every resident whilst on site, so they still have that level of service and contact that they are used to, and they really appreciate the face-to-face socialising.
“We also hold drop-in sessions so residents can come and have a chat with their Independent Living Adviser (ILA) in private about any issues they may have or just come for a general chit-chat.”
The best bits...
We wanted to find out what the best thing about this role is, and Cassandra explained that getting to know the customers on a personal level is a real privilege.
“I enjoy meeting their families and watching them interact with their grandchildren. I enjoy looking at old photos of our customers whilst they explain what life used to be like or tell me about their jobs and careers.
“I also enjoy introducing new residents to the older residents and watch them make a fuss of the newbie as they welcome them into their community. I enjoy seeing customers getting better from illnesses and trying new things, venturing out to pastures new. Watching them taking their driving lessons on a new mobility scooter and telling them ‘no speeding’.”
We all know that life for lots of people was very different during the lockdowns brought on by the pandemic, and Cassandra says that the way her team worked changed dramatically during this time.
“Independent Living Advisers weren’t allowed to be on site unless it was an emergency. We were able to get some mobile phones and we tried to get as many residents as possible up and running with digital technology. As you can appreciate not many residents wanted to try and learn something new.
“We made daily phone calls to our residents to check in with them to ensure that they had what they needed. A lot of my residents are now so used to being in the home that it has been difficult getting them to go back out into the community and getting involved with things again.”
We asked if there was anything Cassandra would like people to know about the role, and she made it clear that being an ILA is more than just a job. “It isn’t just a 9 to5. If someone falls, is hurt, or requires medical attention then we will raise the alarm. We’ll then wait with the customer until help arrives - either their family members or an ambulance.
“We can never plan what we are going to do in a day as it always changes. We always must ensure that our customers are safe and the building is safe.”
“I work with a brilliant team, if you need help dealing with anything then there is always someone on hand to help. They welcomed me into the team and I’m no longer the newbie as Sue has joined us. It’s such a lovely team to work with. We all have our own strengths and we are a force to be reckoned with.”