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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Beh

Our Tresacare Story in 3 Life Lessons

Updated: Apr 26

For our first blog post, we decided to share our story. In the care industry, everyone has a story of how they first answered the call of care. For Tresacare founder Elizabeth Beh, it all began with three important realisations. 




Even before ChatGPT became a household name, I remember how AI was already creeping into our conversations a few years ago. What sort of jobs would AI replace? Should we be worried? I was on the train discussing this topic with my family when we concluded that if there's one thing AI can never replace, it's the human touch.


By extension, I remember thinking, it can never replace caregiving.


Studies show that touch is an irreplaceable aspect of care. Touch can help people relax and feel less anxious or depressed. It can reduce cardiovascular stress. In the case of the elderly, touch can combat feelings of loneliness and improve longevity. From parenting to caregiving, the human touch can give life.


I know this because I have experienced it myself. When we talk about care services, most of us think of the elderly. Yet I was in my early 30s when I first needed care. In 2019 I had health issues that led to surgery. After I was discharged, my husband became my principal carer during my home recovery. For six weeks, I found myself depending on him for my most basic needs, e.g. changing clothes or going to the loo.


When we think about care, we often think of the elderly. In fact, most of us will require care at some point of our lives. As I found out, no one can predict exactly when or why, but once the need arises, the quality and availability of adult social care become critically important.


Let's call this my first lesson.


Lesson 1: Care is so, so important for everyone.

 

It was humbling and isolating, to say the least, to be so helpless. It opened my eyes to the realities faced by those who live without care. I was lucky my husband was willing to take on the role of what the industry calls an "unpaid carer". But what if I needed adult social care? Could I have gotten a care worker?


As it turned out, it wouldn't have been that simple, as there have not been enough care workers to go around for years now.


Digital NHS estimates that local authorities receive 5,420 requests every day for adult social care support. In 2021–2022 there were approximately 2 million requests from nearly 1.4 million new users. 


To put it simply: There is a care request every 15 seconds in England.


Yet persistent understaffing is a huge issue. Today there is a vacancy rate of 10.7%. The turnover rate is high at 28.3% and care providers find it challenging to recruit and retain staff. Through my conversations with care providers, I have found that turnover can even be as high as 50% in the first 3 months.


These numbers are alarming. And the "care crisis"—which is what industry experts sometimes call it—is expected to get worse as our population ages.


This was my second big realisation.


Lesson 2: There really, really aren't enough care workers.

 

As a former HR professional, I asked myself: Why aren't there enough care workers? My Tresacare journey started shortly after I found out why so many qualified individuals keep quitting the industry.


Many care workers choose their line of work because they are compassionate by nature. They find it rewarding to help others. When they leave the sector, it's often because they can no longer handle the work-related stress anymore. After interviewing 37 care workers, I found that care workers seek what we all want:


  1. Reward and recognition

  2. Emotional support

  3. Opportunities for fun and relaxation. 


Caregiving is a tough job. Carers do a lot of physical and emotional heavy-lifting for low wages. They face clients with challenging behaviors and, sadly, often the grief of losing them. The reality is that care workers themselves need care. And by that I mean awareness of and support for their wellbeing and mental health.


The problem is that many care workers aren't getting the skills or support they need to stay happy and resilient on the job. This was my third wake-up call. It may seem obvious, but the reality is:


Lesson 3: Care workers themselves need care (and they're not getting it).

 

This is when I decided to answer the call of care and created Tresacare. As a social enterprise, we develop solutions together with and for care workers. By understanding their needs, I want to help equip care workers with the tools they need to stay happy and resilient on the job. 


At Tresacare, our activities are centered on empowering care workers so that they in turn can offer better care to clients. From wellbeing gyms to communication workshops, our goal is to help the care sector by helping care workers. 


But that's not all. Care work is one of the most difficult jobs there is, and it can lead to rich life lessons that range on the spiritual and philosophical. I find that I'm constantly learning from care workers and that our activities enrich both sides. 


As we continue our journey at Tresacare, we'd like to share all this and more from the care sector with you here on our blog. This includes hearing from care workers, care providers, and a few of our own stories along the way. 


We hope you'll stay with us for the journey! 


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