As we get closer to Christmas, people up and down the country are getting ready for the fun and festivities with their families. But for almost one million older people across the UK, Christmas can be the loneliest time of year.
This year, as every year, many Home Instead CAREGivers are preparing to forgo their own Christmas celebrations so they can bring festive cheer and companionship to those they care for.
Mum-of-two Christine Melville is one of them. She has been a CAREGiver at Home Instead Senior Care Glasgow North for just over two years and is preparing to spend her third Christmas with the people she cares for, helping them celebrate and providing vital support.
“It’s a real pleasure to work on Christmas Day and help my clients celebrate if they want to,” says Christine. “A lot of my clients’ families have moved away down South. For some, if I don’t visit, they might not see anyone all day, so it really does make a big difference to them.”
Christine, 50, is particularly looking forward to spending time with Helen, one of her regular clients, on Christmas Day.
“I’ve been visiting Helen since I started this role,” Christine explains. “She is 99 years old and she’s so independent and is always trying to do things herself before she asks for help. I love the woman to pieces, she is amazing and a bit of a character – she’s a very special lady.
“Helen lives on her own and doesn’t have any family so she relies on my visits. As well as being with her at Christmas, it’s her 100th birthday in January and I’m hoping to do something special for her to help her celebrate.”
Although working over Christmas means Christine’s own celebrations are put on hold, she says that she wouldn’t have it any other way:
“If I wasn’t working, I’d probably be spending Christmas Day at home, but I actually prefer to work as I can spend the day helping other people who might otherwise spend Christmas alone.
“I love everything about my job. Seeing people’s faces light up when you walk through the door makes the job so worthwhile, especially on Christmas Day. Many of my clients might have a limited time left now, so it’s our job to help them make that time happy and fulfilling.”
Home Instead Senior Care MD Martin Jones adds: “Christine and all our CAREGivers who work on Christmas Day are providing a vital lifeline to our clients, many of whom might otherwise be on their own. Christine’s story is a perfect illustration of the special bond which our CAREGivers build with their clients, and the genuine concern they have for their happiness and wellbeing. We’re incredibly proud of all the CAREGivers who’ve given up their own celebrations to provide care this Christmas.”
Want to bring some festive joy to older people this Christmas?
If you’d like to spread some festive cheer among older people in your community, contact your local Home Instead office to find out about our annual ‘Be a Santa to Senior’ gift giving scheme.
Or if you’re interested in becoming a CAREGiver like Christine, why not visit our jobs website to find out what’s involved: www.homeinsteadjobs.co.uk