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A day in the life.... Karen Ive

We'd like to introduce you to Karen, who is the charity's Services Delivery Manager. Karen's kindly answered our Q&A this month and shared with us a few tidbits about her career, what she enjoys about her role at YPWD and her approach to DIY. Our thanks to Karen for taking part.

How would our readers know you already and can you describe what you do for YPWD?

I have worked for YPWD for almost five years and my time here has been varied to say the least. I initially joined in the role of Senior Project Respite Worker for the East, where I helped to expand and build workshops for those people living with dementia and their families.   My role changed over time and I took on more duties and an additional day, making me a full-time member of team.  Over time and following staff changes within the Charity I was asked to take on the role of Service Delivery Manager, picking up from where my predecessor left off and continuing with much of the work I was already doing which included, planning workshops, overseeing staff, staff rotas, organising and supporting at Carer meetings, regular Memory Clinic meetings.  More recently we have faced the challenges of Covid 19 and along with our amazing team I have implemented and overseen services provided during this time.

What would you say is the most enjoyable part of your job?

Making a difference to someone’s life, even if it is just for a few hours in a day.  Although I am not as front line as I would like to be anymore, I can watch the enjoyment in the faces of our attendees knowing that I have a had a little part to play.  When joining workshops and speaking with our carers and their loved ones, I enjoy the chit-chat, fun and laughter that we have, and when to offer that extra support.

What would you say is the most challenging part of the job?

Having sensitive conversations with families about their loved ones. Sad news as well of course, as you make some lovely friendships with both families and the person with dementia so it is always sad when they move on.

What is it that you miss most about our workshops and why?

The fun, the freedom and the laughter.  I am not the best at art, sports, cooking, singing, dancing, gardening and so on, but to me it is all about taking part and making sure we are giving everyone at workshops a good time and that they are happy, feel at ease and in an environment they feel safe.  

If you had to describe the charity to someone in three words – what words would they be and why?

Unique, Amazing and Supportive.

Where have you worked before YPWD and what did you do?

I worked for Crossroads Care in Reading where initially I supported a Young People with Dementia Group one day a week.  I was then asked to take the role of Lead and arranged activities and day trips for our younger people with dementia.  We were based at Hazelwood but supported people across the West of Berkshire.  We had some great trips out and made some brilliant memories with the lovely families.  My role expanded and I eventually ended working full time for Crossroads taking on many tasks which included assessments, staff supervisions as well as continuing to run the dementia group.   During my time with Crossroads, I was able to complete my Diploma Level 2, 3 and 5 in Health and Social Care.  After I left, I was asked to return in the role of Care Manager by the Trustees where I was responsible for overseeing the running of the Charity.  I chose not to take this role on permanently due to personal reasons, so took some time away from working.

If you were in charge of the world for just one day what is the one thing you’d encourage everyone to do?

To really live their life for one day – you have the chance to do anything – so go and do it!

What is the most interesting place that you have visited in the world and why?

I have been lucky enough to visit many lovely places especially in America, and these include New York, Miami, The Florida Keys, San Francisco, LA, San Diego and Las Vegas. I’ve also been to the Bahamas, Thailand and Dubai.  I think they all offer something very special and cannot honestly pick one, although at this moment in time anywhere hot!

What is your favourite meal and why?

Always mood dependent, but probably Lasagne or Spaghetti Bolognese and there is no reason why other than I like it. Oh, and lots of tea and chocolate!

Are you able to tell us what your favourite film, TV show or book is and why?

I love Coyote Ugly, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Wild Child, the Step Up films, Mamma Mia – any rom com or chick flick really.  If it’s a TV show then it’s Holby City. I’ve never missed an episode!

Do you DIY or ‘get someone in’ for the task?

I have been known to have a go but always seem to bodge things, although I am a dab hand at painting other than that, I get someone else in!

Cat or dog and why?

Either, but as I have two dogs, I will go with dogs.

What’s your favourite phrase or saying and why?

Not suitable for this newsletter I’m afraid!


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