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About Supported Living jobs
You’re probably here because you’re thinking about getting a support living job. And so you should! Supported living work is fulfilling, fascinating and fun with a different challenge every day. This work is not for the desk jockeys and the pen pushers; it’s for the engaged, creative and enthusiastic out there, looking to make a difference.
Just what are supported living jobs?
Support living jobs are jobs where you work with those you – for whatever reason – need extra support to get your normal everyday jobs done.
They’ll need support for many, many different reasons. They may have a form of learning difficulty or disability which impairs the cognitive functions that ensure their safety – from knowing when to turn the cooker off to taking the right amount of medication to knowing when people are taking advantage of them.
Alternatively, it may be a physical difference which makes the conventional design of home and society a real pain to deal with – for these individuals, you’ll help them with things like hygiene needs, getting out and about or attending work.
Some service users have specific issues that affect the way they relate to others. Non-neurotypical disorders - such as those on the Autistic Spectrum or those with dementia - make normal life hard for these individuals; supermarkets are alarming, bright, noisy places, doctors are people who do inexplicable, painful things to you and simple communication between you and others just seems impossible to decipher. For these clients, you’ll be looking to make their lives as unthreatening as possible by considering alternative ways of doing all the kinds of tasks specified above.
Away from medical issues, there are plenty of social issues that mean people need extra support. Homeless shelters, supported living for the recently homeless, drug and alcohol addicts in recovery and children in care all need people to help them cope with re-assimilating into conventional society and accessing the ‘system’ to get their benefits and health needs met.
Finally, everyone mentioned above with always need help with budgeting, medication, eating well, keeping clean and tidy, maintaining their tenancy, accessing work, leisure and education and going out with friends and family. Their profile of needs will change the way in which you do these and the level of support you provide but the fundamentals won’t change.
Do I need special qualifications to consider supported living jobs?
No! Supported living is one area where you do not need to be brainy! You need to be sensible, you need to be creative and you need to be good at problem-solving and getting things done but you do not need to be some kind of essay-writer.
Obviously, you do need functional English and Maths skills for supported living jobs; if your English isn’t good enough to tell the difference between a bottle of bleach and a bottle of steriliser or your Maths isn’t good enough to protect your service user from getting ripped off in a shop by getting the wrong change back, then you can’t work as a support worker. You must have the basic skills and alertness to be able to safeguard your service user.
Above and beyond this, it’s about what kind of person you are.
So what kind of person do I need to be to thrive in a supported living job?
Kind, patient, empathetic, compassionate, creative and great at solving problems, whether emotional, social or logistical!
Kindness, empathy and compassion will guide you in doing the right thing. There are times when your service user can handle being pushed a little harder on getting their washing-up and there are times when they need to just get under the duvet and eat chocolate and the washing-up can go hang. Support work is not about frogmarching people around to do their chores; it’s about making careful judgements about when they are, for instance, too mentally ill to cook dinner or too overwhelmed to get down the supermarket and you need to do these things for them.
Patience comes in when you know they need encouraging but they are NOT in the mood. Or to avoid the temptation to just take over making a cup of tea because you know you could do it in 3 minutes as opposed to their 12 minutes. You’ve got to be able to go with the flow and accept that, in supported living jobs, the pace of life will be very different.
Creativity and problem-solving are key traits that will be used every single shift. You’ve only got 10 staff but 12 service users to cover – how are you going to do it? Your service user is refusing to attend college – how are you going to reframe the experience to make it seem more appealing? Your service user’s fallen out with his boyfriend – how are you going to support them socially and mediate better understanding between them? When do you lay down the law and when do you coax? These questions will come up every single shift in supported living jobs so you better enjoy working out how to get things done in a way that ensures everyone’s dignity!
OK, this sounds great and I want to look into support living jobs!
No problem! To look for a supported living vacancy, just go back up to the top of the page and get involved. There’s many out there and you should be able to find something to apply to today in our lists. So get searching and good luck!