We were at the breakfast table and Janet was chatting to me about the singers she loved when she was a teenager. Dame Vera Lynn was one of them, and I decided to find one of the songs that Janet talked about on YouTube. When she heard it, her eyes lit up, and then they filled with tears. It brought her all the way back to when she was young again. Her reaction was just so special, it really warmed my heart.
From that day on, any morning I was with Janet, I asked her who she wanted to listen to. I’d look over at her and see the smile on her face, and the joy it gave her. I couldn’t wish for better.
Caring for others is something that has always come naturally to me. My younger brother was born with special needs, and we grew up together.
I was working as a hotel receptionist when I decided to join Bluebird Care. It was a colleague who said to me: ‘you need to find a job where you can be yourself and just care for people.’ I’ve always been told that I’m approachable and that I have a friendly face. If I can do something for someone, then I’ll do it, that’s just the way I’ve always been.
I saw an advert for Bluebird Care and had a lovely interview. Before I made it home, I had an email offering me the job. I was nervous but couldn’t wait to get started. I felt that if I cold contribute to making someone’s life a bit easier, then I wanted to give it my best shot.
I’m passionate about keeping people at home for as long as possible, when the situation allows, keeping them in the familiarity and comfort of their own surroundings.
Right from the start, I loved this job. I’ve been here nearly five years now and I can honestly say I’ve never felt alone. Everyone has looked out for me and mentored me and made sure I felt comfortable in what I was doing. The girls in the office have always said: ‘we’re here for you if you need to talk.’ Everyone has always made me feel like a valued member of the team. And the team feels like a family.
I try to treat my customers like friends. I love chatting to older people, finding out about their history. It’s fascinating to look at their old photographs.
It can be so lonely for some people who don’t have a lot of family, or family living nearby. The Bluebird carers might be the only people they see for three or four days. It’s so important that whatever time I have with them is good and positive. I go in with a smile on my face and give that person my undivided attention. I treat them the way I’d want to be treated. I feel I’m making a difference to their lives.
There are a few who have a wicked sense of humour and we have some laughs. Humour brightens up my day too. I’ve had people in their eighties telling me jokes from many years ago, and they have made me cry laughing.
I go into their house as a stranger at the start, but I don’t want that feeling to last for long, I want them to feel comfortable with me.
Patrick is in his eighties and has Alzheimer’s. I ask Alexa to play music for him. He sings or hums along to the song and he enjoys it if he sees me sway or try to sing along too. I don’t know if he remembers me from one visit to the next, but I feel he does, we have a lovely rapport.
I think it’s important to spend time talking to those who like a bit of a chat, it’s important for their wellbeing and self-esteem. It’s a changing world and people don’t tend to call on each other anymore, especially since Covid. There was a time when people would have popped in and out of each other’s houses for cups of tea. People keep themselves to themselves more now. I have a few customers who don’t have family around and the chat I have with them makes their day. So many people say: ‘thank you’ when I’m, leaving their house.
I feel as if I’ve grown as a person since I joined Bluebird Care. I genuinely can’t see myself working for another company.
I’m a Health Care Assistant now and love the idea of working towards being a care supervisor. I would like to be there for other carers, to guide them and share my passion for the job.
At the end of the day, I go home and change out of my uniform into my pyjamas. I feel tired but I feel like I’ve done my best and I’m content. I go to bed feeling that I’ve done something worthwhile that day. As I lie there, I think about the happiness that a call has given, both to me and to the customer.
This is my job, I’m on the payroll, but it is so much more than that. It’s a vocation, and I get a real joy from doing it. I’m proud of what I do and I’m proud to work for Bluebird Care.