Meet our Curam carers
08 June 2020
Did you know the Beatles wrote a song about care?
Okay, not directly about care. As a 1960s band, they had no experience working as a personal carer - but they did understand what makes us happy. Something Carole, who’s been a carer for 22 years, knows too. “Honestly, it’s wonderful, I learn and laugh so much every day.”
Modern life is busy, full of pressure, expectation and numerous challenges. Most of us want to feel that we are in control of our working lives, that we have the choice and flexibility to enjoy life on our own terms. So how can we make our day ‘wonderful’? More to the point - what exactly is Carole doing that makes her life so different?
It turns out, the secret to happiness is... helping others.
We spoke to several Curam carers who believe a career as a self-employed carer is a happy one. The act of caring for another, of putting someone else’s needs first, is what gives them satisfaction and meaning.
Not convinced? Here’s an ancient proverb from China: “If you want happiness for a lifetime - help someone else.”
Apparently, it works both ways. Hundreds of clients tell us how their carer has transformed their lives. Often, it’s the gift of time which is most appreciated. They cherish having someone to speak with, laugh with, share their worries with. Finding that real connection with another person.
“I choose to work in care because I have a lot to give, a lot of experience.” Carole has been a carer for two decades and her beaming smile shows she’s not ready to quit. “I love older people; I like to be around them and I feel I have a real connection with them. They will tell you stuff from yester-year that you had no idea about. They're always funny. Yes, I help them, but I learn a lot too.”
For Ivan, who works as a self-employed carer, it’s the little things which motivate him. “It’s not about the money. It’s about sharing my compassion, kindness and love for people in the right way. I’m a happy person, I want to share that. I like making a difference to people’s lives.”
Many carers enjoy helping clients navigate everyday problems. In ten years as a carer, Ivan has seen the value that adds. “When you are working together to help a client reach a goal it’s brilliant.”
He recalls how he helped a client embrace new technology. “He was struggling with an old phone and worried he would lose contacts and photos if he changed. For me, it was simple. Together we went to the shop, I helped him explain to the sales assistant exactly what he needed. In an hour we left with a new handset which was easier to use. He gained some confidence and it’s little moments like that which are a delight.”
Thinking about the needs of others is at the heart of great care, something Clare was able to consider from both sides. “The thing that steered me towards live-in care was that I had a partner diagnosed with inoperable cancer. Within ten months, he died. We lived the craziest life; we had the best and worst of times. Afterwards, I thought, I can do this. I can create a difference in someone’s life. I can shape the quality of it. That’s what I like about care work.”
The relationship between carer and service user is what makes Curam unique. Carole explains how choice has made her work more enjoyable. “Choice is very important to clients. The personal care services we give means the client must be happy with the service they receive and happy with the carer. Being able to choose your carer helps create a relationship which works well.”
“I was able to write my own profile to attract people to me on the platform. That’s important. My current clients saw my skills and experience and chose me based on that.” Like all Curam carers, Carole was able to create a profile which service users can read before they decide to message her.
As a palliative carer, speaking with clients before accepting a job gives Clare more confidence in her role. “I want them to know I can make a difference to the whole family. They can see I am giving everything, so they can enjoy the company of their loved one as fully as possible for their last few weeks of life.”
Choice gives flexibility, something Ivan thinks makes caring fun. “You can be more creative, energetic, and closer to the wishes of the clients when you are self-employed. I have more freedom. Hours which suit both me and my client. This gives me more time to spend with my family.”
Care work is flexible. It fits around other commitments which bring us closer to home. It’s something Carole knows is vital for her clients too, “Home is where we feel most happy. I love that care workers help people stay in their own home to continue to live independently. For me, that’s so important.”
Living at home with clients, Clare saw how happiness came from shifting expectations. “Care needs to be client centred. A gentle, natural rhythm and progression of care, so they have a nice day. Life changes all the time. Every day is a different day. Every day has an opportunity.”
So, what do the Beatles have to do with working as a carer?
It’s back to Carole to explain. With her experience, she knows working as a carer can be a challenge, but also hugely rewarding. “Consider what it really all means. All you need is love. All the clients I look after just need love and attention. It’s a special song to me, because it’s so true.”
There’s a reason why we are the largest online source of carers in the UK - we do things differently. We offer choice and value our great carers.
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