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My Story: that 'one client' as a social worker.
It was my first year as a social worker in community mental health visiting an aging client in her home.
We all have that one client that stays with us for our career. She became mine.
This client has stuck with me because she has a particularly unique disorder that has led her to have multiple personalities.
I could have a different conversation with a different personality.
In a lot of ways, it was problematic and led her to be in compromising situations. When I first met her, as a fresh new social worker, I had no idea what to expect.
But as I got to know her, I learned about her history and how she managed life. I also learned how her home environment played a crucial role in her mental health.
She had created a space that allowed her to feel safe and secure, even if it was rudimentary. The simplicity in how she arranged the environment gave her what she needed to manage, as best she could, her physical, mental, and spiritual health.
It certainly wasn’t perfect and her home was often chaotic. But this gave insight into her mental health: as the saying goes: tidy house, tidy mind, or in her case… untidy mind.
As a social worker, I’ve had the privilege of working with diverse individuals and families from various backgrounds and socioeconomic situations.
I believe these experiences have led to the biggest growing aspects in my own life.
One of the most significant observations I have made is how a person’s home environment has complex and long lasting impacts on their well-being.
Where I am today.
Today I spend my time supporting the elderly through ‘aging in home’. That means to assists elderly to remain living as indepdently as possible in their own home and avoid moving into a fully support aged care facility.
As we all do, we want to live in our own space; not a sterile one room facility which is often run down and living with other, and often more unwell people.
I gave up house sharing a long time ago… I don’t want to return to that when I’m older. I’m we can all agree.
My Family: wife, son, and dog.
My wife and I love seeing art and architecture, enjoying red wine, and quality food. I love coffee and whiskey. And she likes a leafy chai latte with almond milk.
We have a son, Austin. He’s our little champ!
We also love dogs. We have a border collie, Samson.
Though it’s gotten harder, we do love to travel and see new places.
I guess we’re drawn to the finer things in life. We like to think of these “shiny things” as more creatively fulfilling and visually pleasing; which in turn brings some level of comfort and meaningfulness to our lives.
We’re not pretentious. We can be pretty lazy, to where you might find us at a local cafe for brunch, most likely, for the reason that we couldn’t face the reality we needed to do the weekly grocery shop… again.
In many ways, I am a jack-of-all-trades.
I’ve always had many interests, and pursued them at different levels, like music, both listening to and learning different instruments, drawing, building things for our home, creating a business, or engaging in philosophy, deep thinking, and nutting out ideas with other fellow intellectual types.
My “generalist sensibility” may have been reinforced when I became a social worker. Social workers have this adept ability to adapt to different situations leading us to navigate different eco-systems to help others.
We have to in many ways have a good understanding of many areas to do our job.
Maybe we specialize in the skill of generalization?
We can’t help but think our clients believe that we have some sort of magic power to change anything; like we have a wand or something.
When a social worker ends a phone call with a “frequent caller” don’t be surprised to hear them mutter under their breath “Sure! Let me get my wand!”
I sometimes daydream that I graduated from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry so I can cast spells and grant the needs of my clients.
All aboard the Howards Express!
As a father and a husband… I have first-hand experience with what we needed for our home caring for our firstborn. My wife and I are both creative… and perhaps dyslexic (among other descriptive ways to identify how our mind works), so naturally we have a strong focus on how we set up our home through design, decor and the technology we use.
But I also work with the elderly.
As we age, particularly as we reach the final chapter of our life, we need much more support from our family and have an increasing need to access services, products and technology that helps maintain our independence in our own homes.
So my personal experience: as a creative, and husband, father, homemaker, and through my profession: as a social worker, it has led me to this point:
“how do we live in our own home with the things we need… from birth to childhood, through to adulthood and to our senior years… and make it:
A simple haven that supports our lives and wellbeing.”
One way to consider enkel.life, is that it’s a one-stop-shop to discover new ways to make simple changes to your home in positive and meaningful ways. But more specifically: how do we support our aging family members to do this too.
We’re using the digital online world, as that is where the world is at present to partly simplify this process.
This is why I started enkel.life.
What is enkel.life?
Enkel is the Swedish word for simple.
And why use a word from the Swedish language?
Swedish design is a movement characterized by simplicity, minimalism, functionality, and beauty.
This is the philosophy we pursue. This is the foundation which enkel stands from.
a simple life.
Though I don’t think we all need to have Swedish decor or Swedish products, I do believe, that if we incorporate a philosophy like this into our Western way of life we will improve our health and well-being.
Through my interest in creativity, design, and interest (and experience assisting elderly people in using) trending technology, coupled with my social work experience (and being a parent), I will aim to provide many ways we can consider improving our home.
Naturally, as a social worker, I reflect on my own life, and I couldn’t help but think: what is in my home that’s causing problems?
Or a better way to look at it.. where are the pain points in my home that is not posstively helping me and my family.
This will naturally translate into how we can support our aging parents in their own home.
In my career I encounter many challenges, seeing firsthand how a person’s home has subtle, or sometimes incredibly painful and unsafe hazards on their life.
I’ve also worked from home for the past 7 years and have nailed down what I think works. My home is a big part of how I live and how I generate an income. I spend 80-90% of my time in my home.
So my home has to work well to maximize my potential and my family’s potential.
And so it was through my professional expertise and experiences that I explore the world in search of ways to improve our lives through the latest technology to see how we can better support our aging family members (and maybe even ways to support all of us). In many ways, it’s a simple change in our home environment, our sanctuary, that could have a profound effect on us.
As access to technology becomes more readily available to their every day person, like you and me, we will inevitability see our homes because more ‘conscious’ of us and better support us in our daily lives in our home.
If you wish to know more about what is enkel.life check out more detail here.
I am still on this journey. I still have to reflect on my own home, how we use it and change and remove things and often add better things to help my family. So please join me in finding ways to improve and often… simplify our lives, through design, simplify and technology.