Being a CAREGiver
How did you get to be a CAREGiver?
I am 49 years old and for the last 25 years I have had a career in the pharmaceutical industry. As a child I wanted to be a nurse and help people and as a teenager I used to spend a lot of time at the care home where my grandmother was living, helping, talking to the residents and keeping them company. So it feels as if I was destined to return to a job of caring for people. However initially, education took me on another path and I have always justified my role as indirectly helping people.
Between 2009 and 2012, I found myself organising care packages for my family. Sadly in 2012 my father died and it made me stop in my tracks and ask myself some serious questions about family life. As a mum of one son, it became clear to me that I needed to opt out of the rat race and structure my time and efforts around my son. After leaving my job and spending time at home, getting my house in order, it was when I found myself putting my cookery books in alphabetical order that I realised I needed to use my time more productively.
I was reading the local paper and saw an article about a new business that had started up in Alton and the ethos described of Home Instead sat well with me. The article was asking people interested in becoming a caregiver to make contact. To be honest I did nothing at that time but 3 weeks later when I was in the opticians there was a flyer for Home Instead. It felt like a sign. I called the next morning and following an interview the same day, I was invited to come to the next training session.
How has becoming a CAREGiver changed your life?
All my friends say I look so much calmer, happier and more relaxed. I now have a flexible day that allows me to be around at school pick up time but leaves me feeling rewarded at the end of the day because at the very least I have brought a smile to someone’s lonely face. I was brought up to respect my elders and this job has reminded me how wise and wonderful the older generation are. They have so many stories to tell and let’s face it relatively, we are only here for such a short time so it is a real honour to listen to their stories with all the highs and lows that that may have had throughout their lives.
What difference do you think you’ve made a to your clients life?
During my time at Home Instead, I have had the pleasure of meeting and supporting 13 people. The diversity of their needs has ranged from simple companionship where we sit and chat and put the world to rights, to people with moderate to severe dementia who need help with daily activities such as eating meals, household chores and personal care. The comments made to me by my clients have given me an indication that I make a difference. One client who could not remember my name from visit to visit opened the door after my third visit and said “Oh thank you so much for coming I was worried you would not come again”. Another client said “It has been a long week since you came, I look forward so much to our chats.” Another gentleman was so pleased when I suggested an alternative way of cooking his lamb chops with rosemary and garlic. Such simple pleasures and the fact that we can all teach each other new things no matter what stage of life we are at is what makes this job such a joy to do every week.
Home Instead are excellent. Staff at all levels are sympathetic, thoughtful and eager to do a good job.Sir J.H. Privett