Some of our carers have arrived from countries across Europe and even from as far as New Zealand. Though they all started their care journeys at different points, our worldwide search for carers has uncovered some true gems.
Take Jackie and Tina for example. After leaving the UK to set up new careers in Spain, both of them are now back home, helping people to live comfortable, independent lives as live-in carers.
We caught up with the globetrotting carers to see how they’re getting on after returning to the UK for care work.
From hospitality to live-in care
Jackie joined Helping Hands back in 2014 and is currently supporting a lady in South Wales. To say that she’s had a varied career would be an understatement – from a trainee chef to working in insurance, she then ran her own bar in Spain. But after several years, she realised that it wasn’t her true calling.
Then Jackie spotted one of our adverts for UK live-in carers in one of the local papers in Spain. Missing her family back home, and with personal insight of care from a close friend who is paraplegic, the advert arrived at the right moment for Jackie and she got in touch.
“I had lots of questions and was honest about the fact that I didn’t know if I could do it,” Jackie shares. “I have a friend who’s paraplegic, and we’d often spoken about carers, she said I’d be an ideal candidate, with my knowledge and experience of people and life in general. Then I realised how much I really wanted to do it; I could make a real difference to people’s lives!”
Jackie has now been supporting the same customer in South Wales for two and a half years and is loving every moment. The two of them have built a strong connection and have a great relationship.
“When she was first discharged from hospital, she was really quite unwell,” Jackie explains. “But over time, and as we got to know each other better, she started to eat more and gained the strength to start exercising a little. After a year of me being there, she was able to stand, and we said goodbye to the hoist!”
Jackie believes that the care and support she’s given has allowed this lady to enjoy doing the things she loves. “And that’s so satisfying!” she adds. “She loves going out and meeting friends for lunch, and going to the cinema. She’s also a great opera fan and enjoys going to live performances whenever she can.”
Returning home after 30 years
Moving abroad is a major decision – moving back is probably a harder one to make. That was the case for Tina, who moved back to the Midlands after 30 years abroad. During those years, Tina worked in a jewellery shop, and as a holiday rep and lab technician. But by her own admission, she shares, “I was at a loss what to do job wise”
Like Jackie, Tina saw the live-in carer role advertised in Spain and decided to go for it. After passing our live-in carer training, Tina began her Helping Hands journey in February 2016.
“It’s certainly an interesting job,” Tina remarks. “It can be challenging but so satisfying when you have a breakthrough. As carers, we are on the ‘frontline’ so to speak and are a spokesperson on many different levels for our customers when we need to be.”
Tina likes being able to support people and their families through what is often quite a hard time for them all. One particular customer she’s supported, a lady sadly approaching the end of her life, was quite reserved and kept to herself.
“One evening we were watching TV and she grabbed my hand and held it very tight,” Tina shares. “I understood that even if she couldn’t say it; she was afraid. The only thing I used to say when she grabbed my hand was, ‘I know’. It’s understanding where each individual is and what they need from you.”
For Tina, there is no greater feeling than being able to “make someone smile because they feel relaxed and safe” and has loved simply being there for the people in her care.
Being a live-in carer isn’t just about experience – it’s the dedication to helping someone else and wanting to make a difference. Tina and Jackie have both shown their natural abilities as carers and we’re so proud of their achievements.