I provide live-in care for Ruth and look after her as if she was my family, and in the same way I’d look after my mum and dad.
I was a nurse in China before I came to the UK in 2005. It would have required further study to be a nurse here, so I thought I’d start working as a care assistant instead, and I fell in love with my job.
At first, I worked in care homes, but I like home care better. I have worked for Bluebird Care now for ten years.
During that time, I’ve met many wonderful people. I feel a real warmth from our customers and that makes me feel better too. They’re grateful and many are very caring.
Every evening when I left Tim’s home, he’d ask me to send him a message letting him know I’d arrived home safely. Some will say: ‘you’re like my family’. One lady called me: ‘my little sister.’
I think we get very close to our customers. It’s nice to see them happy and when I see that I feel happy. I’m always smiling, and I try to put a smile on their faces too.
I visited Mrs. Baker once a week. She spent most of the week in her flat and garden and I took her out. She’d say: ‘I’ll be happy wherever you take me.’ She’d get ready and put on her make up and we’d both look in the mirror before we left the house.
We went to the beach and sometimes we had tea outside or an ice cream sitting by the waterfront. We enjoyed the views and took a different route home. I felt proud to be with her, especially as I was in my uniform. I could see she was enjoying it and it was nice for me too.
Ruth has dementia. Her family wanted to keep her in her own home for as long as possible and that’s what we’re aiming to do. She stays in her flat most of the time, but I try to make life a little different for her by moving from room to room.
In the morning we sit in the kitchen where we have a chat and breakfast, then at noon we move to the living room where she can sit by the widow and see the children going to the nearby school.
Ruth used to love ballroom dancing and the other day we watched a ballroom dancing competition on YouTube. We have regular video calls with her family.
I’ve learnt a lot doing this job. It was Ruth who taught me the children’s nursery rhyme ‘One, two, buckle my shoe.’ She remembered it from years ago and recited it while we were counting and doing some light exercises.
I love my customers. They’re all different and have different life stories. Being a home care assistant is interesting and you can see the difference you are making to their lives.
Some will say: ‘I’m old, I’m useless, I’m a burden,’ but I try to tell them how important they are to everyone around. They’ve contributed so much during their lives so it’s nice make them feel better, to make this a happy time.
I think it’s important to show compassion, it makes everyone feel better. The customer is happy that they have care and attention. And it makes me feel that I’m useful and that my work is worthwhile.
I feel very supported by Bluebird Care. They look after us and they care for their staff in every way they can. I feel a sense of belonging and I’m proud to be in a top team. It’s like I’m in a big family.
There is a clear career path in care work, and I have acquired a NVQ3 qualification in Health and Social Care.
Care work can also be flexible. I have just trained and qualified as a Blue Badge tourist guide. However, I don’t want to give up my beloved care job which I will do during winter and spring. Bluebird Care helps me to make this possible.
This is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. My colleagues are great, and my customers always inspire me. It is an absolute privilege to be a care assistant with Bluebird Care.