I dance down the corridor of her home, singing along to her favourite Tom Jones songs. And when I look behind this tiny little lady is following me, and she’s dancing too.
Around her house are memories of all her travels, and when we talk about them, she comes to life.
I joined Bluebird Care as a care assistant in January 2021. I’m a qualified nurse and spent 37 years in the NHS. I worked in most areas of mental health but always enjoyed working with older people. When I was 52, and a ward manager, I decided to take early retirement. I wasn’t enjoying nursing any more and just thought ‘enough’s enough.’
I lasted a month or so at home, but I was so used to being out and doing something and having a sense of purpose. I went to work in a couple of nursing homes, but I thought: ‘this isn’t for me.’
I spoke to a friend who worked for Bluebird Care, and she talked about her role with such passion that I felt compelled to apply that very day.
I enjoy my job and I believe I do it well. My customers feel like friends, and I look forward to going to work.
When I walk through the door, they’re so glad to see me. The welcome I receive, and the gratitude makes me so happy.
Daniel misses his wife who has died, and all her clothes are still in the wardrobe. He says I’m like a breath of fresh air, I never thought I’d be told that.
I’m doing what I was trained to do, to sit and listen and offer the genuine comfort that I have time to give.
I talk to my customers about anything and everything. I show them pictures of my children and my grandchildren, and they show me photographs too.
I sit with Mrs Trent listening to Jim Reeves songs, and I know all the words by now.
It’s great to feel valued and for our customers to feel they are being cared for by someone who enjoys giving that care. It’s important to make them feel respected, and to make them feel they matter.
I think that to be a good care assistant you absolutely have to care. Working in the care of others is a vocation, rather than just a job. I want the person I care for to feel safe and valued. It’s important to treat people with sensitivity, maintaining their dignity in the most intimate of moments. I have never stopped wanting to do that.
I look forward to going to work. I wake up in the morning and wonder what the day is going to bring. I told Nellie, who is in her late eighties, that I liked belly dancing and she asked me to show her. To my surprise she danced too, swirling her hips. She said she was a dancer when she was younger. It’s important to bring fun into the lives of my customers.
I like the fact that people are being cared for in their own homes. I know that I’m going to see them in their own home, and I can give them the care I’ve always wanted to give.
I’ve told the girls I work with here: ‘you don’t know how lucky you are.’
All the Bluebird Care Staff that I have had contact with have such genuine care and compassion for those they care for. I’m proud to say that I work for Bluebird Care. The level of care they provide is excellent.
At the end of the day, when I come home, I’m usually tired but I usually have a story to tell. I can come home thinking ‘I’ve done something good today.’
It was the right decision to become a care assistant. I could go back to nursing, but I never want to do that again. This is the happiest I’ve been in my career.