This time of year our inboxes start to overflow with festive invites, which means that many will be asking their workers to support them at events. Boundaries can often be blurred as you will be stepping into a more personal space.
After speaking to many support workers and the people they support, here are their tips for attending end of year events with the people you support:
It is easy to think that you just need to know the date, time and hours of work, however, when supporting someone at a function there is some other important information you will need to know. This information will inform your preparation for the event.
Firstly, what type of event is it? Is it a dinner or cocktail party? Or is it a quiet afternoon tea or a barbecue at the beach? What is the dress code? What to wear for different kinds of events can be tricky and obviously will vary depending on where you’re going and what your role is.
Secondly, ask what the expectations are of the work you will be doing. For example, will you be eating or do you need to have eaten prior to the event? Are there other issues you might need to be aware of, such as whether the person you support struggles lifting heavy cups, in which case straws may be needed. If this is the case will the individual you support be bringing some with them?
Thirdly, are there any access issues you need to be aware of? One of our Mycare users says, “When I go to events I often discuss the access with my support worker beforehand because it helps us plan the support. I also always have a conversation about how I might introduce my support worker because sometimes I find it easier just to introduce them as a friend.”
It’s also useful to talk about how involved your client wants you to be. Are you expected to be part of the party, or quietly in the background?
Finally, consider your footwear. When going to fancy occasions it can be tempting to wear high heels and that could be fine. However this is not ideal if you are going to be transferring someone into a wheelchair or helping to push it. If you want to wear heels then perhaps have a pair of flat shoes hidden in your handbag or in the car so that you can easily grab them and put them on when needed.
Jandals are the essential summer footwear, however they can be problematic if you are pushing a wheelchair as they can slide off and cause issues particularly over uneven surfaces. They also pose a risk for you as your feet can easily be injured when using equipment.
For more information on professional boundaries click here