My name is Susan Gray. I’m a care home supervisor and Dementia Ambassador at Rubislaw Park Private Residential Care Home in Aberdeen.
I left school at 18 knowing I wanted a career in nursing or social work. However while studying at college my dad was diagnosed with a terminal illness. To help my mum I took on more hours in my coffee shop job which led to a 20 year career in restaurant management, but I always said I would return to a career in care when I reached 40.
The summer after my 40th birthday the restaurant closed so I went online to search for a job in care. I was delighted to see the care home near my house was recruiting. I started as a support worker and my existing leadership skills helped me gain promotion to supervisor.
You can never plan what a day will be like in the care home. I supervise in the unit providing specialist support to people with dementia. I’ll provide personal care, help with meals plus we’ll go out for activities, appointments or even just to the local shop.
I am responsible for medication, paperwork and I provide training to colleagues. I work in partnership with other healthcare professionals and support families through difficult times, including end of life care. I’m constantly trying new ideas and I’m involved in buying items for the home.
Every day is different and I have become very passionate about dementia care.
My knowledge and skills have increased so much. At first I knew little about dementia so started reading books and articles. I enrolled as an SSSC Dementia Ambassador and completed Skilled level of the Promoting Excellence dementia framework. I meet with other Dementia Ambassadors to share ideas and resources.
The qualifications I gained years ago at college helped me start my career. I’m now completing a Technical Apprenticeship in Social Services and Healthcare at SCQF level 9 which I’m really enjoying. It’s making me think a lot about what I do daily and the difference it’s making to people’s lives.
I am passionate about learning. I had Christmas money from family and spent it on a course at University of Stirling about stress and distress. I loved it. It helped me understand how important this support is. I learned about how to be proactive in reducing distress for people with dementia, and alternatives to the use of psychoactive medications. I then became part of a group of care home trainers after completing further training with NHS Education for Scotland.
Working at Rubislaw feels like being part of a big family. People living here have so many stories and I’ve learned so much from them.
My motto is ‘Find it in yourself to chase your dreams’. I’m so glad I did.
Every day is different and I have become very passionate about dementia care.Susan Gray Rubislaw Park Private Residential Care Home