Life as a Live-In Carer

Positive Thoughts!

We recently had one of our carers fall ill and end up in hospital. Luckily she is now recovering at home and sent us this lovely message. We have decided to share this with everyone to hopefully show that Oxford Aunts try to act like a family and once you're a part of it we do our best to look after you.

"I want to say a big thank you to everyone at Oxford Aunts for their good wishes, support and help last week. Especially to Sarah and Sarah who returned the car to my client and brought some things back, and to Helen who drove me back from the hospital on Saturday. It has both been humbling and reassuring to know you were all there for me at such a distressing time.

Many thanks for everything and best wishes"

The challenges and benefits of being a live in carer

I have held the position as an Oxford Aunt 'Live in Carer' in the UK for many years. I was attracted to this particular agency because they offered training, accommodation whilst training, ongoing support, three hours’ break per day and one longer day per week which was more than I had seen offered by other caring organisations.

I believed I had transferable skills that would be a good match for the position so applied. If I had been in any doubt about my decision it was quickly dispelled through the application process. I was impressed by the thoroughness of the recruitment process which reassured me that I had made the right decision.

I would later discover that Oxford Aunts would do their best to place me where my skills were best suited. After a few months in my first placement I began to notice some of the challenges and benefits of 'live in care' work. There were understandable challenges like homesickness, not being able to come and go as I liked, adjusting to another culture, and making sense of the complexities of the client’s family system, are to name but a few.

I am very fortunate to have strong supports and had the foresight to plan my own self-care plan and these proved to be my greatest resources. I also understood that planning breaks and holidays would be a welcome respite to charge my batteries.

The benefits somewhat outweigh the challenges; assisting elderly clients to have a better quality of life, engaging with the wider family unit, make new friends, growing professional skills and being part of a successful organisation is of huge benefit to me.

The benefits didn't stop there, I am be able to experience another way of life, explore geographical areas, have free accommodation, my salary accumulating giving me a healthy bank balance, and with Europe on the doorstep it appeases my hunger for travel.

There is a quote that reads: "With hard work comes great rewards" - it wasn't easy at times but working with the elderly has given me many gifts which I was not aware of when I began my life as a carer: their attitudes, their sense of humour, their views on life, their wisdom, their past history and their acceptance of death as part of life.

I have had many an epiphany, those "aha" moments. I could not have gained such insights into the seasons of life without the experience of being a live in carer. The initial challenges seemed to have reduced the more experienced I have become but, like every developmental stage in life, I am sure new challenges will arise. I also learned that "the moment I stop accepting challenges is the moment I stop moving forward".

Life as a Live-in Care Worker

For almost two decades I’ve had the privilege of living with, helping and caring for many very different people.  A few of these clients had made a real and positive difference to the lives of millions of people across the world.  Some had worked hard to improve lives locally, some worked quietly in the domestic sphere or everyday careers to support their families.  Every one of them deserved the very best care I could give whether it was for a week or two while their regular carer had a break or it was for months or years.

Live-in caring gives me a well paid job, with endless variety and challenges, while working within a structured framework.  I share sadness and joy, celebrations and humdrum days with my clients.  I can never forget the magical evening when my gentleman saw the hedgehog, which lived in his garden, for the first time.  Nor will I forget the magical evening, a couple of weeks later, when he saw the hedgehog for the first time - there can be great happiness in dementia.

I have shared Christmas with wonderful families, children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren gathered together and welcoming me into the family celebrations.  At other times I have made a special meal for two with the best china and fruit juice in the wine glass. I have held hands with the dying and admired the latest baby.  Endless variety and joy!

I have worked from Winchester to Northampton, from Cambridge to Devizes and lots of places in between.  This has allowed me to explore areas of Britain I wouldn’t otherwise have visited.  I love walking in the countryside and have explored many towns and villages during my days off.

I choose to work for Oxford Aunts Care because I believe I can do a better job with the support of a care manager and regular training updates.  Working for an agency also means I get holiday pay, a pension and am covered by their insurance and, of course I don’t have to worry about national insurance and tax returns – the accounts department do that for me.

I couldn’t ask for a better job

Kate Bonella

Live in care worker