Blog: Why become a CAREGiver?

When I first thought about becoming a CAREGiver, I was unsure if I had the qualities needed. Being a CAREGiver in my eyes, was somebody who had a nursing background, who was confident about all the millions of different medications there are, and this person was not even afraid of blood! Aka, not me at all.

But curiosity about this ‘compassionate’ role got to me, and I ended up applying anyway, then attending the training, and finally becoming a CAREGiver. And guess what? Though some applicants may be all the things I felt I was not – there were also people like me applying – and they wanted us too!

It turns out, you actually don’t need to have years of health care experience to be a CAREGiver. Clare (the Home Instead Recruiter) told me, that they are looking for people with golden and kind hearts; that the knowledge can be taught, but you can’t teach somebody to be a caring soul.

I think a lot of people have misconceptions about being a carer for older adults. It’s seen as an unsociable hours job, that was hard work and not appreciated. But that has not been my experience at Home Instead. I’ve found that I can pursue my passion for caring wholeheartedly. Any avenue I want to learn more about, be it dementia to palliative care, there is always a workshop happening, a new resource to look at, or a chat with a senior CAREGiver who has great insight into these topics, from first-hand experience.

Because the role at Home Instead is domiciliary, you really get to know your clients. Home Instead has minimum of one hour care calls. Spending a couple of hours a day with your client, in their own home gives you both the time to do all the activities you need to, but also to have a cup of tea, or take a short walk and really build a strong and trusting relationship. This is extremely rewarding and not something that you find with every job - so I’m very lucky to have that here.

The ‘unsocial’ hours turn out to be social. The hours are flexible, so they work really well around my own schedule. If you’re a parent and you need time in the morning to get the kids to school, or if you an avid netball player and Tuesday nights are match night, you just need to say! The scheduling team here work around your schedule to make sure everything fits and you get the hours you need.

One of the most important things to me, is being part of a community. And I have found that here. We have a big WhatsApp group which we are quite busy on, we also have events (most of them on zoom at the moment!) and you also get a lot of support from the people around you. That’s both from the office staff but also from getting to know your fellow CAREGivers, which can be really helpful. We have mentors, Rebekah and Sean, who we can go to if we are need a bit of extra support too.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m aware I’m painting a rosy picture. There are definitely times where I’ve had a hard day, and being so close to your clients can be emotional, when things are difficult for them. But the bond you build with your clients, the support you get from those around you, and the joy of pursuing your passion make these small moments worth it. Going home knowing that you have brightened somebody’s day, had your first giggle together, helped somebody cook their dinner – this is why you should become a CAREGiver. If you’re anything like me, you’ll love it.