The benefits of working as a live-in carer: an expat's story
Leaving the Spanish summer sun, Alison hopped on a plane and headed for Helping Hands’ centre of excellence, based in the heart of Alcester. Alison was no stranger to the UK, having lived there for twenty-two years before deciding to relocate to mainland Spain. Although a big decision to make, Alison realised that working as a Helping Hands’ Live-in Carer would suit her expat lifestyle perfectly.
Alison originally heard about live-in care work from friends of her parents, who live in Murcia and work as Live-in Carers on and off for two-week periods. After seeing how well live-in care worked for them, Alison researched reputable care providers on the internet and came across Helping Hands, deciding it was the option that suited her lifestyle best. “I chose Helping Hands because they’re a nationwide company, meaning I could possibly work near Nottingham where my family are,” she explains.
Whilst Helping Hands also offer an hourly service, as an expat living in Spain, Alison decided that live-in care was the best option for her. She says, “Live-in care gave me the opportunity to spend time in both countries.”
Dividing her time between Spain and the UK is particularly important to Alison, who, despite living with many family members in Spain, still has roots firmly planted in England. Coming straight from Spain after a very smooth recruitment process, she was even able to stay with her grandmother the night before the first day of training.
After a very successful training week, Alison went back to her grandmother’s house, where she awaited news of her first placement. After agreeing a work routine that would suit her lifestyle, Alison was keen to get started. She says, “I could more or less choose the work schedule that was most convenient for my lifestyle.”
News came quickly, and soon enough, Alison was providing live-in care to her first Helping Hands’ customer. Since then, she has been able to make a positive contribution to many people’s lives, whilst remaining in close contact with her loved ones in both Spain and the UK.
Returning to Spain between live-in care placements
Between her placements, Alison is able to go back to living her normal life in Spain. Alison, whose current home is fifteen minutes from the coast, says, “I go straight back to Spain because I have my husband, children, parents, friends, dogs and home there.”
At home, Alison is able to spend time walking the dogs, looking after her allotment and olive trees, and going for drinks with friends. After a few weeks at home, she is then able to head back to the UK before her next placement is due to start so that she can visit her family members and friends. By choosing Helping Hands live-in care, Alison has been able to truly take control of her career and create a perfect work-life balance. Commenting on the benefits of working for Helping Hands, she says, “I can do the type of job I enjoy, yet still enjoy my Spanish lifestyle.”
Alison really enjoys being a member of Helping Hands, and has been able to make a positive contribution to many people’s lives. “My experience so far has been very positive”, says Alison. “I feel very much appreciated by the managers and staff, and feel that they are very flexible and helpful. I can also see a lot of scope for working with different types of customers and in different areas. There is also the possibility to choose either temporary or permanent positions.”
Although Alison has available teaching work in Spain, she acknowledges that not everyone is so fortunate. “Many expats are struggling with the current economic recession. Working as a Helping Hands’ live-in carer is therefore a very good way of being able to continue enjoying the life you have chosen in Spain and combine it with seeing friends and relatives in the UK, before and after you start work.”
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Alison Carter: interview about being a live-in carer
What area of Spain are you from and how long have you lived there?
I live in mainland Spain, fifteen minutes from the coast between Tarragona and Barcelona, and close to two airports with regular flights to the UK. I’ve lived here for more than twenty-eight years from the age of twenty-two.
How did you hear about Helping Hands when in Spain?
I heard about live-in care work from friends of my parents, who live in Murcia and do two weeks on and two weeks off with another care provider. I also saw an advert in an English newspaper in Spain looking for carers with a different company. After investigating on the internet, I came across Helping Hands.
An as expat, why did you choose to work for Helping Hands? Why live-in care?
I chose HH because they are a nationwide company, meaning I could possibly work near Nottingham where my family are. They also sorted out your paperwork. It wasn’t necessary to be self-employed. Live-in care gave me the opportunity to spend time in both countries.
Do you find the flexibility of the job attractive?
Yes, I could more or less choose the work schedule that was most convenient for my lifestyle.
Do you feel that you have the best of both worlds?
Yes. I can do the job I enjoy, yet still enjoy my Spanish lifestyle.
During your breaks between placements, do you return to Spain?
Yes. I go straight back to Spain because I have my husband, children, parents, friends, dogs and home there.
What kind of activities do you enjoy doing whilst at home in Spain?
In Spain, I like walking the dogs, looking after the allotment and olive trees, and going out for a drink with friends.
Is there any advice you would offer to another expat who might be considering joining Helping Hands as a carer?
I’m doing the job because I enjoy this type of work, but I have plenty of work in Spain teaching English. However, many expats are struggling with the current economic recession, so this is a very good way of being able to continue living the life you have chosen in Spain and combine it with seeing friends and relatives in the UK, before and after you start and finish work.
How have you found your experiences so far at Helping Hands?
My experiences so far have been really positive in that I feel very much appreciated by the managers and staff, and feel that they and flexible and helpful so that I feel happy at work. I can see a lot of scope for working with different types of customers and in different areas, and in choosing temporary or permanent positions.