My PA Day: Louise

My name’s Louise and I’m a 19-year-old medical student. I’ve worked as a PA supporting Ben over the summer holidays for the last two years.

It all started when saw an advert put up by Ben’s mum on social media a few months before I finished school. It looked like a good alternative to working in retail or hospitality, that was a bit more relevant to my interests and more fun. I’m also a young carer for my sister so I had some experience with disability from that perspective.

As well as helping Ben with meals and personal care we have been on lots of interesting trips and activities as he enjoys getting out and about with things like boat trips, walks and cycles on his tag-along trike. In this photo I’m on the paddleboard behind Ben on his first trip in a canoe!

It’s been lovely getting to know Ben and how he communicates, especially through singing songs together. Ben is a fan of lots of 2010’s pop music like 1D and Olly Murs which is good fun. He also likes rhymes like Old MacDonald and Wheels on the Bus and likes suggesting interesting variations of these (the monsters on the bus for example!) The first thing he says to me when he sees me is often “goats” or “the people (on the bus)” because he wants us to sing those verses.

Ben has three PAs at the moment so I’m usually working with either another PA, or with his mum. Sometimes if we’re staying home or near home then I’ll work by myself. It depends on how Ben is feeling that day and what will keep him safe but still let him have some independence. Working with his other PA’s has been useful as everyone has different backgrounds and being able to learn from the ways that other people work is really helpful. I’ve also learned a lot by seeing the progress Ben makes in doing tasks independently.

As someone who will be working in healthcare in the future I think working as a PA has helped me have a much deeper and more holistic understanding of disability and care. I would definitely encourage other people my age to think about working as a PA.

It’s a unique and interesting job and it’s really nice getting to know an individual and their family and being able to be flexible to fit their needs as best you can.

Self Directed Support Scotland

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