Sasha was listening to Bob Marley the other day when I went to see her. She’s in her eighties, and a lovely lady. ‘That’s my favourite song,’ I said, and I did a little jig and Sasha laughed. Behind my mask I was laughing too, she could see my eyes all crinkled up.
I laugh a lot in this job. I think if you have a smile on your face, you have a happy heart and people realise that.
I joined Bluebird Care in 2013. I had a job with the council as a carer in 1990 before my first child was born. After my children had started school, I had part time jobs before joining Bluebird Care Shropshire in 2013. I knew caring was my calling and haven't looked back.
My children are grown up, the youngest is 18, and the eldest 32. I am 62 now and a senior care assistant. I work 30 hours a week, spread over five days. On a typical day I’m up at six and at a customer’s house by seven.
I like helping people, I like to see that things are right. It isn’t always as straight forward as going into a house, helping someone to get up, giving them breakfast and out again, there’s so much more involved.
Last week I took a gentleman to one of our local historical houses and we had a really good day. I didn’t see that as a job, it was more of a pleasure. I was the only person he’d spoken to that day.
I care about the people I look after; I think about them outside work. Bluebird Carers go the extra mile. I stay longer than I’m allocated sometimes if they need me.
No two customers are the same.
I sing some of the old songs with my customers. One of them has Alzheimer’s but as soon as I sing the song with her name in it, she sings along, she always remembers that song.
It is extremely important for them to remain at home, it’s the familiarity they like. Their photographs are all around them, they may like a particular cup or spoon. Sometimes they have a dog or a cat that they can't bear to be parted from as animals mean a lot to some of our customers.
They are in charge, even down to choosing what blouse they would like to wear that day. It is a privilege to go into the homes of my customers, it’s their personal space and I always respect that.
There are customers who really don’t have anyone, and we are the only people they see that day.
I go in as if I’m a friend popping around for a cup of tea. I build up a rapport with my customers and caring comes naturally to me.
I’d like to encourage other people to become carers. I think you need to be a people person to do this job, you need to have compassion, you just need to be a decent human being.
Bluebird Care are very good, and very supportive, and they treat us well. There’s always a gift for us at Christmas and every so often you get a thank you card, I’ve had a gift voucher in the post just for being a carer. It’s those little things that make me feel valued and appreciated by the company.
The customers say thank you as I’m leaving. I shout: ‘see you,’ and ‘goodbye’ as I’m closing the door. And I think to myself: ‘that was rewarding.’
Being a carer is very worthwhile. I look forward to going to work, and I love my job.