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Retired teacher Jerry on working as a carer: “Every moment is special”

Jerry, a visiting carer in Redditch

Jerry works as a care assistant in Redditch where he supports customers on a part-time basis, visiting around around six regular customers each week. With an infectious smile and playful personality, he’s built strong relationships with the people he supports, one of which he visits purely to play chess with.

As one of our more mature carers, Jerry moved into care after 26 years of teaching IT at various colleges. His keen interest in computer programming was matched with a passion for supporting others, so after his retirement he decided to move into care.

“After I retired I worked for a while supporting young adults with learning difficulties but I soon came to realise that the job needed a lot more energy than I now had. Even though I missed the kids, I knew I had to move on.”

Building rapport with Redditch regulars

It was then that Jerry spotted the care assistant role at Helping Hands, visiting customers in his hometown of Redditch. Following his in-depth training, he started doing weekly visits to support adults with personal care, making meals, moving them in bed and, for one customer, even playing chess.

“I visit a chap who was a very good chess player in the good old days, just to have a game with him,” he said. “He’s now quadriplegic, so we have a huge chess board on the wall and he tells me which pieces to move. I used to play chess as a kid, so it’s great to play again. How many jobs are out there where you get paid to do that?

“But saying that, there is no one special moment in this job,” he added. “Every day we’re doing something for people that they can’t do themselves, so it means that every moment is special. We’re there for our customers, enabling them to feel better or regain their independence. This is what makes this job so rewarding.”

The ins and outs of working as a carer

Jerry talked about the flexibility of the role and the type of tasks he carries out each week. “I was involved in helping to lift customers in and out of bed, with the support of another carer, but after some problems with my hip I’m no longer doing any of the more physical tasks like these.”

Openly passionate that almost anyone can enjoy the role, he said, “Some say this is only a job for certain types of people, but it’s not! Don’t think you can never do what’s involved. At first I was concerned about personal care, but after one or two times, it really does become second nature and not something you think about.

“I can’t say it’s for all people as I don’t know all people,” he added, “but if you have that interest in care, try it anyway and find out. Most people in this world are capable of kindness and consideration. Doing this job brings out even more of that aspect of your nature that you may not have realised you had.”

We asked Jerry to name three things he loves most about his job as a carer. He chuckled to himself and replied, “The two big ones are, of course, meeting people, because everyone has a story to tell, and leaving someone in a better state than they were in when you arrived. But the third has to be finding out which are the best incontinence pads and catheters to use so I’ll know which ones to get when I need them in three or four years’ time!”

Start caring in your local community

Working as a care assistant in your local community, just as Jerry does, is a rewarding role that enables you to build strong relationships with the customers you see each week. If you’re interested in a career in care, search our current job vacancies, or find out more about our industry-renowned carer training programme.

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