The best reward I have in this job is a smile or a ‘thank you.’
I’m 60 now, and a grandfather. I think there are plenty of men my age out there wondering what they are going to do next. They have life experience they could use and I’d say to them: ‘become a carer.’
I joined Bluebird Care when I was 50 and before that I was a qualified upholsterer and a taxi driver.
I come from a big family, I’m one of the youngest of 14. We all had to help each other, that’s the way it was. I have a nephew who has special needs and I was always there for him. I thought I could help people; I have a caring nature.
My customers are all men, and I class them as friends. They like a joke. I really enjoy helping people to become independent.
I worked with Chris who had special needs. His mother did everything for him. His main panic was about how he would survive if anything happened to her, and she fretted about that for years too.
Chris didn’t know how to take a shower; he didn’t know how to make a cup of tea. I helped him and constantly encouraged him. He can now do his shopping, he can go to the chemist and get his own prescriptions, he can make his own tea. Chris’s mother passed away over a year ago. He lives on his own and he can manage. I’m very proud of how I’ve helped him.
When I started working with brothers Edward and Ian they were in their early twenties. They have Asperger’s and live in a two bedroomed apartment. I was told they didn’t talk to each other but now they sit and talk to each other, they watch television together, they make their own appointments, and they cook for themselves.
If people trust you then you can support them, and you can gain that trust if you tell a joke and make them laugh. Some would prefer if I didn’t cook their dinner but sat and talked to them instead for an hour.
Kevin has multiple sclerosis and is in a wheelchair. When I’m putting him into bed we have a laugh about something and before you know it he’s in bed. If we weren’t having a laugh he would feel every little thing I did.
I give Graham a shower and he loves talking about football. We have a laugh and a joke. For years I was a football referee.
This job is very flexible. I’ll go on as long as I’m able. The office staff put their trust in me, and they support me. Recently I was delighted when I was given a long service award. It was nice to be recognised.
I don’t look for praise, I don’t look for money. It’s just good to know that I’m making a difference to people and that their lives are better because of what I’ve done. I always do my best.