Said Kathryn from Oldham, Greater Manchester: “I was in my mid 50s, my youngest child was going to university and I knew I had to spend the last years of my working life doing something I actually loved. It turns out you’re never too old to find your true vocation in life!”
Kathryn swapped her files, systems and computer and started a second career specialising in care for older people, joining national homecare provider Home Instead Senior Care as a CAREGiver. They specialise in care and companionship for seniors in visits that last a minimum of one hour, so there’s no rushed care visits and always time to talk.
“I had an NVQ Level 4 in Business Administration and a certificate in management studies but I didn’t have any training or formal qualifications in care. But that’s not what they look for at Home Instead when they’re recruiting. They look for people with compassion, people who want to make a difference. That sounded just like me and the stage of life I was at, so I applied.
“From the minute I did the induction training, I fell in love with the job. I look forward to each and every working day now. Adult social care is a far cry from Environmental Services but as my second career, it’s fair to say I’ve found my calling.”
Proving Kathryn has care running through her bones, she’s made a huge impact on the life of 96-year-old widower, Second World War veteran Elijah Debnam.
Home Instead Senior Care’s approach means it’s not only about practical help around the home, companionship is just as important. So while she helps Elijah with thinks like food shopping and collecting his pension, it’s about having the time to take a real interest in his life and wellbeing during each care visit. Putting that principle into practice, Kathryn spotted a photo in Elijah’s house from his time as a Royal Engineer in Belgium where he was pictured with a wartime pal.
Elijah said he couldn’t remember the name of the building in the photo and would love to know what it was, so Kathryn turned detective to hunt down the details for him. She was able to print off a photo of the building along with its name Chateau Val De Chaise to take to Elijah on one of her visits.
Delighted with the yesteryear fact, Elijah said: “I love Kathryn coming round so we can reminisce. We went back 72 years the other day to 1944 when I arrived on the beaches of France.”
Now 57, Kathryn, who works 20 hours a week and has 8 elderly clients, is still learning and picking up new life skills through her employer, as she’s currently studying for a Health and Social Care qualification.
“I work with a great team and a caring company that believes in continuous personal development for its caregivers. It’s got not one, but two sets of royal recognition, a Queen’s Award for Innovation in care and a Princess Royal Training Award, so I know I’m part of a care company to be proud of.”