Case Study: Kelly's Story

There were tears in his eyes as he watched his saw his wife walk down the aisle towards him. Robert’s wife had passed away and it was many years since he had seen their wedding video. I managed to get it to work and transferred it onto Robert’s iPad. Then we sat side by side on the sofa, watching it together. I remember he smile on his face. It was a big moment for me, but it must have been a phenomenal moment for him.

I’m 23, and I joined Bluebird Care after I left university where I studied psychology. I needed experience in health care or education before I started my PhD.

This is a job I never thought I’d do, and I have been very surprised at how much I enjoy it. I absolutely love it.

I like getting to know the customers, having a bit of a joke with them. I like the freedom to be myself. In this job there isn’t really a script because every customer is different. We have a laugh and a chat, and if they have a smile on their faces when I leave I consider it good day.

I do a lot of singing. I’ve been singing Beatles songs and Abba songs and the other day it was an old nursery rhyme. I’m not a good singer but when my customers start signing something I recognise I sing along. Sometimes we have a little dance around.

The people I care for are aged from around 70 to 90. I think they find it nice to talk to someone younger who is interested in what they have to say. Having someone to talk to is much nicer than staring at the television or at a blank wall.

I’m a caring person and I really like being able to connect with people. It’s interesting to hear about their lives. I’ve heard about the war, I’ve heard about the dances in the fifties, and the cars in the sixties. It’s such a different world now and I enjoy hearing stories I wouldn’t hear otherwise.

Sometimes my customers write down what they have been doing so they can tell me, maybe they have seen seven magpies in the garden or a tree with nice flowers on.

I look up stuff on the internet for them. I may Google where the nearest garden centre is or places they may want to go to.

I go with Justine to see the racehorses. She used to be a jockey and likes to see how they are being trained. Martin was a journalist, and he likes to sit in cafes and see what people are up to.

I feel a bond with my customers, and I want to give them their best life. They are like friends to me. I think about them when I’m not with them and I feel very much part of their lives. As long as they are safe and happy then I’m happy too.

Peter is in his late eighties and when I first met him he couldn’t get out of bed. He had physiotherapy and I encouraged him to walk a little bit further all the time. I supported him out of bed and stood next to him. Then I started to stand a little bit behind him, still holding his arm. Then I let go so he could walk on his own but I followed with a chair so he could sit down if he wanted to.

Last month, just six months after we met, Peter met me at the front door when I arrived and let me in. He had walked from his bedroom all the way down the hall. I burst into tears. I couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day. It feels fantastic to see Peter walking now. I have a proper smile on my face every time. I’m very proud of him and grateful that I have had the opportunity to help him.

I’ve decided I want a career in care and I’m keen to gain the relevant qualifications. I’d like to progress but I’m enjoying what I’m doing now so I’m not in any particular hurry. The training I received from Bluebird Care was brilliant, it was thorough and extensive.

I love the flexibility of this job. I work 37 hours a week but also have time to do courses.

I think my friends were surprised when I told them I was a carer. They were even more surprised when they realised how much I love it and how much I enjoy doing what I do.

I look forward to going to work and having a laugh with the people I see. Generally, my day is a happy day. I’m glad I found my way into a career in care, and I would encourage other young people to do the same.