Alf is a CAREGiver at Home Instead and provides a companionship service to Brian, a retired research chemist who has Alzheimer’s. Alf liked the idea of helping to provide Home Instead’s companionship service to older people, and at 73, he felt that providing good company was a way he would like to spend his golden years too.
Alf’s spent his early years in the Merchant Navy as a chef and then worked in telecommunications for 15 years. But it’s beyond retirement age that he discovered a career in the care sector. He found Home Instead very supportive, as well as having the support from his family.
Home Instead match the CAREGivers and the people they care for based on common interests, which suited Brian’s wife Gill perfectly - she had requested someone of a similar age and with similar interests as her husband.
Alf faced some communication problems due to Brian’s memory, but he’s taken the time to build a relationship with Brian and develop an understanding of his needs. He also encouraged Brian to play snooker, as he’s played since the age of 15 and still uses the same cue, and this has also helped Brian’s memory. Brian says that Alf is his life line.
Alf believes that no one can show you how to look after people, that it comes naturally as a caring person. Although there are training courses, he feels caring still comes naturally from within. The best advice he has received is to listen to clients and their families and encourage them to talk about what they would like you to do for them.
Hopes for the future
Alf thoroughly enjoys being a companion to Brian. He finds the job extremely rewarding, and it is great for the both of them to be able to relax, enjoy a game of snooker and talk about the past. Alf hopes to continue with providing support and care for people for as long as it is possible for him to do.
June has been a CAREGiver at Home Instead for four years and has four regular clients; a woman in her 90s, a man in his 70s and two women in their 80s. This job helps June thrive as she loves going out to meet people and doing things that matter to others. June does that while having a chat about olden days or whatever they like to talk about.
“I am very proud that I can still do such rewarding work and help others. I am also proud that I have achieved so much in my career and have wonderful close relationships with my clients. My clients rely on me for help, they have become dear friends.”
June worked as an auxiliary nurse in her early 20s at the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield before she went to work in a local factory making drill bits. June then worked at the Bassetts’ sweet factory and trained as a fork lift truck driver on the factory floor. Having enjoyed the active life, and with the medical training, June decided that working in care was something that she’d like to do, despite being in her 70s.
June was told that she was too old to work as a carer by an agency and felt disheartened by the experience. She then saw an advert for jobs with Home Instead and saw they did care for older people. However she was still worried her age was going to be a barrier.
Home Instead was very supportive and saw that her life skills and experience made her a perfect fit for the companionship service for older people. June has received great training in this job, helping her to feel confident and comfortable.
“My Mother was a big influence in my life and gave me lots of good advice. She taught me to help people and speak to people in a proper way and be respectful of others. Mum taught me to always show people dignity and treat everyone with respect.”
Hopes for the future
June hopes to continue as a CAREGiver. She wants to maintain her health and look after herself, so that she can continue to look after her wonderful clients, and stay as active as she can for as long as possible.
Judi is a CAREGiver for Home Instead Senior Care in Exeter and East Devon. When Judi started, her intention was to provide the companionship side of the service rather than helping with personal care tasks such as helping people with washing and bathing. However, she soon changed her mind as she grew to know her clients and decided to get involved in their personal care.
Judi thrives as a CAREGiver - she even asked to do additional days because it is such a rewarding way to spend her time. Judi is most proud of winning the Home Instead (Exeter & East Devon) CAREGiver of the Year Award the first year it was introduced.
“Having my clients ask if I can visit more often is a wonderful warm feeling.”
Judi previously worked as an estate agent and a model before owning her own antique shop. However, this role became Judi’s primary focus, and three years on she’s working six days a week, looking after older people in their own homes.
Judi’s own self-perceptions were her main challenge; she did not think she would be able to do the work and wouldn’t be suited to it. Judi was sceptical about care homes due to scandals around poor care and abuse, but her friend persuaded her to get in touch with Home Instead. After worrying there might be an age limit for working there, it was a relief to know that wasn’t the case.
The best piece of advice Judi got was the simply the suggestion of getting into caring, and she no longer sees her age as a barrier to providing care for others, she sees it as advantage.
Hopes for the future
Judi hopes to continue to work for Home Instead full-time (6 days a week) until she is 75 years old, and then to continue 4 or 5 days a week, giving, she hopes, something extra to the clients she looks after.
“I love being part of their lives, and making it as good as possible when sometimes life is hard for them.”