What it’s really like being a disability support worker
We had a chat with Kylea Hughston, a Disability Support Worker who has been in the disability industry for two years. Here, she shares insight into the role, what an average day looks like and why she believes it’s an ideal career choice.
For 15 years Kylea did the hard yards helping people with dementia in the aged care sector before making the difficult decision to quit in the face of chronic understaffing.
For many people, changing career paths can be a daunting experience.
But aged care’s loss became our gain. Kylea was one of an increasing number of people to swap careers and make the life-changing decision to join #TeamPossible and support people with a disability.
“I had no idea what I’d be in for in the disability sector, it was a challenge at the start, but you fall in love with it so quickly,” she said.
“And what has surprised me the most is how rewarding and full of life it is compared to aged care.”
Kylea’s two biggest shocks when she became a disability support worker were both positive:
- How varied each day was and
- How capable the people she supported are
“No two days are the same at Endeavour Foundation – you hear that said a lot, but it’s true,” she said. “One day we can have a very strict-routine morning and the next day you might see us dancing down the hall.”
“What I love about the job is the requirement to go with the flow and adjust to the needs and desires of the people I support,” Kylea said.
Kylea said she found people with disabilities to be very capable.
“Given the right support and networks, the sky is the limit for what can be achieved,” she said. “The people I support are very goal orientated, and I’m sometimes caught off guard by what they know, or have learned.”
So, what does a day in the life of a support worker look like?
A day as a disability support worker is a mixed bag, but can involve:
- Supporting people with disability to achieve their goals by developing their skills and abilities
- Facilitate community connection by socialising and going on outings
- Support with meal planning, cooking and shopping
- Provide support during daily activities, this can be from going to the movies, or going to an appointment
- Help people with disability maintain a connection to their family, friends, and services
- Give people with disability the support they need to develop and maintain their independence.
As a disability support worker, Kylea’s shifts can begin as early as 6am and finish as late as 10pm, depending on the needs of each individual. But she says she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Working in the disability industry has given me the opportunity to make a real difference in someone’s life,” Kylea said.
“It’s more than just a job, it’s a way to help the people we support have independence and be a part of their community – through employment, socialisation, and as a neighbour.”
And for anyone considering a role with Endeavour Foundation as a Disability Support Worker, Kylea has this to say:
“I don’t regret becoming a disability support worker. It’s a super-fun and incredibly rewarding job and I would recommend it to anyone with a desire to help others.”
“That being said, you need to have a lot of patience and be a people person, otherwise you’ll struggle to make connections with the people you support and their families. You can come to work feeling average, but the moment you walk through the door, and someone you support says, ‘Good morning Kylea, I missed you,’ it can just make your day.”
Found your calling?
We’re hiring disability support workers across Queensland. Express your interest at endeavour.com.au/support-worker.