What Home Instead means to me

A brief insight into why people chose to work for Home Instead

John's Story

About twenty years ago, my mother passed away having lived with dementia with Lewy bodies. My father was my mother’s family carer taking on support such as personal care for my mother. At that time both my brother and I lived away from home, and I was stationed abroad as I served in the Forces. A few years ago, I happened to be sitting at home and thinking about that time. Even though I didn’t realise it at the time, later on I realised that I felt guilty for a couple of reasons. I felt very guilty that my job took me away, and that I wasn’t able to help my parents in the way I wanted. My employment in the Forces meant that I was trained to be an analyst in a variety of areas. For a reason that is quite difficult to explain, I felt twenty years ago that I should have been able to analyse the situation and help more. I also realized that in the mid-1990s when my mother was diagnosed, there wasn’t a lot of readily available information, especially of help to family carers.
I had served in the Forces for over thirty years and wouldn’t have changed a single thing about it. When I was preparing to leave, I knew I wanted to continue working but had no real idea of what line of work. The majority of my previous career had been office-bound, and I knew I would prefer not to work in an office for my second career, but still didn’t really have any idea. My wife happened to be looking through our local parish magazine, and noticed and advert for Home Instead, She said “John, you’d be good at that”. I thought about it for a short time, and at first I was concerned that I might not do what I considered to be a good job. I was accepted by our Home Instead office, and I must admit I was a little unsure of myself on the first few visits. Following that and the more I got to know the clients I started to enjoy myself, especially when having a laugh with the clients. I had explained to people in the office about my experience with dementia and mentioned that I would like to learn as much as I could about dementia. The training officer at the time and the Care Manager were very supportive of me during this time, and mentioned other training I may find interesting. At that time as well as visiting clients, I also delivered training in dementia awareness to other care professionals. A few years ago, I was fortunate to be awarded a Chief Nursing Officer for Adult Social Care silver award for my commitment to spreading awareness of dementia, of which I am very proud. I am a leader of our Singing for the Brain group, which is for all people with memory problems and their family carers. I am by no means a singer but can follow a tune. It is very pleasing to see people with dementia and their family carers enjoying the music.
I was asked to visit a gentleman with Parkinson’s and as a result of my many visits with him I wanted to learn more about Parkinson’s. I mentioned this to our Care Manager and she suggested I complete the Parkinson’s UK Train the Trainer training, which I did. This started me on my journey to learn more about Parkinson’s and Parkinsonisms, attending seminars and reading a variety of books written by those with Parkinson’s. I also deliver Parkinson’s awareness training to my fellow care professionals.
One last thought I have is that I spent the vast majority of my working life working with and using foreign languages to communicate with others. During these last six years working for Home Instead, I have learned much more about how to communicate with people, especially with those people who cannot communicate verbally, and I greatly appreciate that.
I love the work I do, and really appreciate the support I have received from our office staff, especially the Care Manager, Helen