I’ll never forget her face when I walked in with the Christmas tree. Margaret had Alzheimer’s, and even though it was Christmas she didn’t have any decorations. She was over the moon when she saw the tree and helped me to decorate it. ‘Let’s get into the Christmas spirit,’ I said as I put on a Christmas film for her, and that evening I stayed late so we could watch it together.
I absolutely love my job at Bluebird Care. I joined at the age of 18 as a care assistant and it was the best thing I ever did. I had people who needed me and depended on me. It made me realise what I wanted to do in life, I wanted to help people.
Now, in my twenties, I am Head of Recruitment and Marketing for the Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire franchises. And if I can get to where I am today then anyone can.
My teenage years were difficult. I was sexually assaulted aged 13, by a friend’s stepdad at a sleepover. The aftermath was traumatic with school bullying, police interviews and a court case. I was affected by the event for many years to come and I struggled to get my life back on track.
At 15 I became pregnant. I remember sitting on my bed, crying, feeling totally lost. When my little boy was born, he was the light of my life and I knew I needed to provide for him. I started working as a care assistant when I finished college.
I loved my customers and was excited to see them every day. I cared so much for people and never wanted anyone to feel as lonely as I had done. I wanted to be their friend and the person they could love and trust, and I was. That feeling is like no other.
Patricia was the loveliest lady you could ever meet. She was like me, bubbly and outgoing. I looked forward to seeing her every day. I’d take her to the hairdressers to have her hair permed and she loved that. I’d take her chocolate and pop in on my weekend off to see how she was getting on.
The other day I found the order of service from her funeral while I was going through a memory box under my bed. I gave it a little hug. I know I made a difference to her and she really appreciated it.
Joseph was 99, and we used to dance together in his kitchen. We’d sing Jolene, his favourite song, he’d take my hand and spin me around. He danced around with his walking stick and we had such a lovely time. When Joseph went into hospital I visited him. I brought him his favourite treats and some new pajamas and slippers, and I shaved his beard. He always loved my shaves.
I liked to have a bit of a laugh and joke with the people I cared for, tell them what I’d been up to. I built such a massive bond with them.
I really got to know them and they were like my own family, that’s how I treated them. I felt worthwhile, I had a purpose in life and it didn’t feel like I was working. I have so much love to give.
I worked hard and after two years I was offered a position as care coordinator. I went on to become a recruitment officer, then recruitment manager and I was then promoted to my current role.
I never thought I’d be in this position when I was younger. I’m happily married with two children, I’m buying my first house and have a job I adore.
I get to give people their dream jobs and support them along their way. I’m very passionate about taking on the right people and I have high standards. They have to be caring.
Finding people who are right for the job is fantastic, watching them start their journey and grow with us. That excites me. I’m motivated to do the best I possibly can.
I’m not saying that being a carer is easy. There are days when it can be difficult and tiring. But you have a job that has meaning, a job that is needed and a job that is so rewarding.
Caring is about making a difference to people and having fun while you do it.
I remember lying in bed at night going through what I had done that day. I’d think about how I’d had made Betty laugh, or made Margaret her favourite dinner and I’d heard all those stories from Joseph and we’d had a nice dance. When I thought about what I had done for them, about how many smiles I’d seen that day, it made me feel good.
NB. The customer names in this article have been changed to protect identities.