I was a publican for 30 years until I decided to retire at the age of 60. Within months I knew I wasn’t ready for retirement and I joined Bluebird Care as a care assistant. Little did I know how rewarding it was going to be. Now, at the age of 70, I’m still here.
It is satisfying getting to know the customers, learning what they need and how they like to be treated. You wouldn’t believe how many different ways there are to give someone a wash and help them dress.
Some people want to get dressed from the top first, others from the bottom first. You learn how many vests they want to put on, some want two, others three. Some people like hot water for their wash, others like it fairly cool. It’s all those little things that are important, like learning how much milk they like in their porridge, and how much milk they like in their tea. I listen to what they want. They are all individuals.
One of my first customers was Grace who had dementia. It made her happy to be on a bus and not a day went by when we didn’t catch a bus somewhere. We’d go to all sorts of different places. We always sat downstairs and in the same seat if it was available. To this day if I get on a bus, I still sit in that same seat.
I like the challenge of having different people to care for. I’m lucky to have regular customers, some of whom I’ve been visiting for many years.
My aim is to provide care for people in their own homes and to help them live independently. There’s something about being in your own home. You can make your own choices and you have familiar things around you that you have probably had for years.
One of my customers was a railways enthusiast and I felt honoured when he showed me a train set that he kept in a special room. And another of my customers has geraniums everywhere, he loves growing them.
Years ago, I thought I would like to work in a care home without the travel, so I left Bluebird Care to do this. I soon found out this was not for me. When Bluebird Care invited me back I jumped at the chance.
Bluebird Care is a family and I’m very lucky. They treat you well and there’s support at all times. They have given me the opportunity to further my new career. I have been given training and taken courses, and I’m always happy to learn.
I work around 24 hours a week. No day is the same, and over the years I have met some lovely people.
Because I’m older I think some of the customers are more relaxed with me. They like the fact that I’m nearer their age and we can reminisce. We remember a lot of the same things. I also care for people younger than me, I’m able to get on with all ages.
Every person teaches me something. This job reminds me every day that life is so special. Everyone is important. My mum always taught me that and she was right.
My only regret is that I did not follow this line of work earlier in my life.
NB. The customer names in this article have been changed to protect identities.