While many people wouldn’t think about a change of career in their later life, Kevin from Sutton Coldfield and Denise from Swansea each took a leap of faith that led them to a more fulfilling and rewarding job.
They both became visiting carers in 2017 and soon found that the change was just what they needed.
Both in their 50s, Denise and Kevin had enjoyed long careers outside of the care sector but always felt there was something missing. It was under very similar circumstances that sparked their interests in care: when health concerns arose for their loved ones, they each gained an insight into the role of a carer. In 2017 they got in touch with us to train and work as visiting carers. Read their stories.
A switch to more flexible work
After witnessing the incredible work carers did for his relative on a day-to-day basis, Kevin became interested in pursuing a role similar to theirs. Having previously worked in a completely different role as a premises manager, he instantly knew that caring for someone in need would suit his personality well, due to his compassionate and considerate nature.
One year on, Kevin has already gained so many fond memories from his time in care. “One day I walked into a customer’s home and was asked to take my shoes off. It was that day that I had left the house with odd socks on and the customer looked at my feet as though I had Gruffalo’s feet!”
Kevin loves the feeling of making his customers laugh and looks to improve their lives in any way he can. “I like the conversation,” he explains. “Knowing that I’m making my customer’s life more comfortable than it would have been is very satisfying.”
Kevin now feels that he has found his perfect job, even if it is totally unlike anything he has done before. “One thing I have found about being a carer is that people come up to you and shake your hand for doing this job – they want to talk to you about your work more than in any other role I have held.”
His advice for people pursuing a career in care? “Be prepared for anything, you never know what you might face when you open the door, and never be judgmental. Take people as they come.”
A personal experience turned into a love of care
While working in a betting shop, Denise’s father was sadly diagnosed with cancer. Her mother found it increasingly difficult to look after him so Denise left her day job and went to care for her father on a full-time basis.
“At first, I was under the impression that the reason I enjoyed caring so much was because I was doing it for a loved one, but this turned out not to be the case,” Denise shares, pictured here with a customer she supports. But after she stopped caring for her father and returned to work, the passion for helping someone in need still didn’t leave her.
Denise realised that working at the betting shop wasn’t giving her the fulfilment she needed, and began longing for a role which gave her the same sense of satisfaction that caring for her father had done. “At the grand old age of 49, I decided to have a career change and try my hand as a carer again!”
My only regret is not doing this sooner
And even though the role itself is rewarding enough, Denise reflects on the appreciations she has received from her time in care. “These range from receiving emails from Tim Lee (Helping Hands CEO) to say he has heard I am doing an amazing job, through to being gifted flowers from the family of a customer who had passed away. They were just so grateful for the care I provided to their loved one.”
Denise believes that being a carer is a perfect opportunity to build a solid network of support. “I have gained many great friends while providing care for people, as I have built great relationships with families. ”
Over her working years, Denise has held a few jobs in different sectors and positions but they have not come close to the gratifying feelings she gets from being a carer. The sense of job satisfaction is immense and Denise says that she would recommend this role to anyone looking to jump into a new career, regardless of their age.
“The only regret I have is that I didn’t became a carer sooner,” she remarks. “I honestly look forward to coming to work each day.”