Working over Christmas can sometimes sound like a dreaded task, but for some of our Community Care staff, it brings them extreme joy to be caring for those who maybe don’t have a family to spend Christmas with. Being the only person that someone may see on the big day can offer a strong sense of purpose to your day.
I started with MCare NI 3 years ago, after having my 2nd child. I worked in a sales office full time after working my way up to Assistant Sales Manager. This was a very demanding, high paced role which I enjoyed. But as my eldest was getting ready to start school I knew it was no longer the job for me. I wanted to be there to pick them up from school, hear about their day, do homeworks and generally just be present in their lives.
“but after hearing about the job role and the flexible hours which worked around my family life – I decided to go for an interview”
A couple of people I knew who worked for MCare had mentioned the job to me. I first thought “oh no way, that’s not for me” but after hearing about the job role and the flexible hours which worked around my family life, allowing me to be there for the kids every day and for us to have dinner as a family, I decided to go for an interview. I still really wasn’t sure that it was going to be for me, but I wanted to know more. I got through the interview and started my role.
My first shift came, and luckily I was on with my friend who also works for the company. That couldn’t have worked out better as I was a nervous wreck. We got in the car, drinks, snacks, notebook, and pen with a mass of nerves in my belly. The whole thing went by in the blink of an eye. My head was spinning, there was so much to remember. I knew I had brought my notebook to take notes, but I honestly didn’t even have time, as I was so busy taking it all in, trying to remember everything, and talking to our service users.
“I really had no idea what end of me was up. But what I did know was that I LOVED this job!! I knew this was exactly where I needed to be”
I got back home, put my uniform in the wash, put my jammies on and got a cup of tea. I really had no idea what end of me was up. But what I did know was that I LOVED this job!! I knew this was exactly where I needed to be. Growing up I had a very close relationship with my nanny, I went into every call and treated everyone how I would have liked my own nanny to be treated.
Fast forward 2 years, I ended up having to get an operation and I was no longer able to do double runs. I was so angry that my body wasn’t letting me do what I loved. I had a chat with my Manager and came off the phone much happier, as she was able to get me on to a single run looking after service users who are a lot more independent and mobile, but who still require daily support.
“I walked into each call with a smile on my face ‘Hi, my name is Rebecca, I will now be your Care Assistant’”
It was brilliant to be back on the road, only this time it was with a new set of nerves. I felt like I knew the job inside out but couldn’t help thinking ‘I’m now on my own… what if I forget something and don’t have a partner working with me to remind me…?’ But I walked into each call with a smile on my face “Hi, my name is Rebecca, I will now be your Care Assistant” I knew straight away the love for the job was back.
“I treat each of them like they are part of my own family”
Doing this job is not just “helping people to the toilet or making tea”. It’s remembering each individual service user’s likes and dislikes. I know how 17 separate people like their tea, what their favorite slippers look like and what they like to have for supper. So, although most of my service users are in their own house with no family with them, I treat each of them like they are part of my own family.
“So, every year at Christmas, I make an effort to wear a funny hat as it always makes their face light up”
With Christmas this year fast approaching, we all feel that same buzz as you start to see Christmas trees going up in homes, planning the big turkey dinner, playing games, laughing, and having fun with all your family and friends. But the reality is there are some people out there with nobody to enjoy Christmas with. Sometimes their Christmas joy is down to us as Carers. So, every year I make an effort to wear a funny hat as it always makes their face light up. So even though I can’t sit down, share a turkey dinner, and play some games with them, we will sing songs and have a little Christmas fun.
This is the reason I think this job is so important. Each Carer like myself goes into people’s homes and brightens up their day. Not just on Christmas but every day we are there. Sometimes we end up visiting them more than our own family. To be there and make a difference is most definitely what I love most.
“I now have lots of extended family who I intend to sing plenty of songs with this year and for many years to come”
If you’re thinking about becoming a Community Carer, I say go for it!! It honestly is the most rewarding job. Look at me, from the office to my car and I couldn’t be happier! And on a final note, I now have lots of extended family who I intend to sing plenty of songs with this year and for many years to come.