We were standing together at the window, looking at the snow outside. ‘It must be very cold out there,’ he said. He was suffering from dementia and too scared to go out. Then suddenly I had an idea. I’d bring the snow in to him. I collected it on a tray, and he was laughing as I made a tiny snowman on the kitchen table in front of him. The peel from the tangerine he was eating went on the hat.
He didn’t have any children or grandchildren, so I don’t know when he made his last snowman. I could see his joy; he couldn’t take the smile off his face. And tears came into my eyes, knowing that I’d given him this happy moment, knowing that I had made a difference.
I guess I was born a carer. All my life I have felt this urge to help, to lend a hand, to do any tiny thing I could for friends or strangers to make them feel happier. Every one of us is given a talent, it took me a while to realise that mine was love for people, and I also have patience and humour.
I became a carer nine years ago. Before that I’d been a teacher, a secretary, and a translator, I even owned a tiny cleaning agency.
My first caring roles were in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Ireland before I joined Bluebird Care in the UK in March 2019.
I’m a live-in care assistant spending 24 hours a day with customers who need continuous care in their own home, in familiar surroundings.
I work with them on tasks, like getting out of bed, getting ready for the day including personal care and dressing, preparing food, administering medication, and keeping their homes clean and tidy.
I listen to their wishes and their needs, and if they apologise for being slow, I tell them: ‘we’re not in a rush, we have all the time in the world.’
I see myself as an extra pair of hands, eyes and ears. A lady I care for is visually impaired, she can’t really see. It must be so hard for her, she used to paint. When we go out, she’s in her wheelchair, I go as close as we can to the flowers and the trees and describe to her what they look like.
She used to be a keen gardener but can’t really do it now. Instead, she gives me the instructions, and together we look after the orchid in her living room.
Recently we went to the market, and she was really happy that she could choose her own fruit and vegetables. She had her purse in her hand and paid for her shopping. It gave her a feeling of independence and I think it made her week, not just her day.
I’m Hungarian and I come from a background where we were taught to respect our elderly. Life has taught me that what everybody needs is love, everybody deserves a bit of happiness.
I tell my customers: ‘you cared for other people, now its time for you to be cared for and to be pampered.’
As women we like to look nice whatever our age. I encourage my customers to choose their outfits and we match colours and find scarves and accessories.
For fun we play cards or dominoes or watch television. We solve crossword puzzles, and there’s someone who likes me to read poems.
Sometimes I dance and my customers laugh. A little bit of silliness can break up a dull day. I put music on and it’s wonderful when they start singing. It’s very uplifting.
I listen to their stories, and if they need cheering up, I surprise them with a bunch of flowers, I find their favourite jelly sweets, or we feed the tadpoles in their pond.
Being a carer is rewarding and makes me feel fulfilled. I’m very proud that my daughter has just started working for Bluebird Care too.
I care about the people I look after and I’m happy when I see them happy. At the end of the day when they say: ‘God bless you and thank you for all that you do for me’ it makes me feel that I have done something useful, and that I have a purpose.