Brian’s Story

After Community Police Officer Brian retired, he wanted to continue serving his community so he become a Support Worker at Sense Scotland.

Why did you want to work with Sense Scotland?

I enjoy working with people and wanted to do something community based, helping people live within the community. Community relationships are important to me.

Describe a typical day with the person you support?

Mainly, we do everyday tasks. I find that now, I think a lot more about basic life choices and tasks that I took for granted before. Things like choosing clothes, washing a cup and deciding what to eat.

Working with person I support, I’ve come to realise that perseverance is important and we get there eventually. I try to take step back and not to apply my way of own way of thinking.

What value do you feel you bring to the lives of those you care for?

I feel I’m empowering someone to do what they want to do and I’ve learned how to understand what his needs are. We have strong trust and when I say I’m going to do something I do it; I don’t change the goal posts.

I also think about his family’s needs. I know his parents and I’m always thinking about the way I would want someone to care for my own family.

What value does the person you support bring to your life?

Wee bits of interaction can make me feel so proud and happy. It could be that he washes a cup or picks up a plate.

There’s a challenge when communicating with someone who can’t communicate; you have to develop skills at picking up the small cues. This is something I find helps my other relationships as I am more attentive and aware. I’ve learned to think more creatively.

I hate touching people’s feet but I am happy to do it for him and I probably wouldn’t do that for anyone else! I am entrusted to look after this person and I find it easy to put his needs before my own.

Can you think of a special moment or memory?

It felt superb when the person I support started enjoying listening to music in his house and he now proactively asks for music to be put on.

What does Sense Scotland brings to the lives of the people we support?

It’s about choices. It sticks in my mind that, how much choice do you really have when you have limited ability to communicate?

I challenge the belief that doing everything for someone is helping. Rather than doing everything for him, I think about how I can involve him more, to empower him in his life.

He loves his food but get gets bored eating the same thing so I’m always thinking of different places to go to eat to give him that choice – I’m thinking about this even when I am not working with him!

It would be difficult to leave as we have a bond, we like each other. We’ve developed a good relationship and I enjoy getting a cuddle at the end of the night. It’s the things that aren’t in the job description that make the job worth it.

What are the challenges and the highlights of your job?

He can be volatile but I understand his frustration and we have a trust that allows him to explore his negative feelings as well as his positive feelings.

It may not be the highest paid job in the world but it’s one with the highest satisfaction and greatest opportunities for a good work/life balance. It’s about the satisfaction I get from helping someone and a relationship that is precious to us both.