Jean was looking forward to her retirement. Having worked hard since she was 16 she reckoned she deserved a bit of time to relax. Which was fine, for the first couple of years, but then Jean found herself longing for a job that would give her life ‘a bit of shape and purpose’.
Would You Work in the Care Sector Once You’d Retired?
Here’s Jean’s story about finding her way back into work, and what it feels like to have a caring job when you’re 70!
When I was 12 I told my mother I wanted to be a nurse. She wasn’t having any of it; she wanted me to learn typing and be a secretary. So that’s what I became. Then I met my husband and had children – but I never stopped wanting to care for people. I looked after my husband’s mother right through her Alzheimers up to her death. Then I became a complementary therapist in my 50s, which I loved.
I gave up work when I was in my early 60s, but I wasn’t ready to put my feet up yet. I wanted to work but I couldn’t think who’d have me. Then one of the ladies I used to give aromatherapy to suggested care work. I immediately thought about yanking people up to give them a bath, and said I couldn’t do it. But she said that they’re always looking for companions.
I liked the sound of that, so I had a bit of a look around. It’s not widely advertised so I wondered if it was going to work out for me. In the end I rang Swarme just to get a bit of information, and that’s how it all began. ‘Yes’ I was told, there was a need for people my age, and I wouldn’t have to get involved in personal care – just helping with cooking, shopping and being someone to talk to.
At Swarme you can choose the hours you do, and you the team support you right from the start. I can admit now that I was nervous, as the people you work with leave a review – I was sure mine would be bad! In the end, though, the reviews were lovely and I have three ladies I see every week for an hour each. That’s enough for me, but I really look forward to catching up with them.
I said to my mother’s picture the other day: “See, I got to do what I wanted in the end!”. I think she’d be proud of me if she could see me, now. Swarme has been brilliant for me and I shall carry on doing what I’m doing for as long as I can. It makes me feel like I’m useful, instead of just sitting there twiddling my thumbs. People are more isolated these days, so having someone pop round every week really matters. I tell my ladies that they do me as much good as I do them.
Ageing is inevitable, but how we age is not
There are currently 11.9 million people aged 65 and over living in the UK. Over the next few years that number will continue to rise. Not everyone who retires will want to continue working but those who do should be valued. They bring a lifetime’s skills and experience which can be hugely valuable to our sector.
For every ‘Jean’ there’s someone who wishes to stay in their home but is finding it difficult to cope with everyday tasks, and is feeling isolated. We need older people who are empathic, can share their history, and can bring generosity and compassion into their lives.
Would you like to find out more about becoming a care assistant? Call Swarme today on 07825 774700