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 REAL LIVES|JACKIE’S STORY|A JOURNEY TO WORKING IN CARE
  Jackie’s story...
‘Why I changed
my life and became
a professional care worker’
Many people turn to social care having worked in very different fields first and find it offers them a whole of series of rewards they didn’t enjoy previously. One of the Day and Nightcare Assistance Team, Jackie, based in their Wantage office, tells the story of how she came to work in social care and why it suits her so well.
‘I used to work in a kennels and run my own business dog­grooming,’ begins Jackie, ‘but dogs don’t talk and people are more interesting! Then, for a long time, I worked for a company who offered people short­term loans. I met all kinds of people, which I liked. I was self­employed though, so I didn’t get paid holidays or anything, which I do now, and the pressure from the company was high – they wanted me to encourage people to take on extra loans they couldn’t afford, I’m not that sort of person. I wanted to help people, not get them into difficulty, so I decided it was time for a complete change.’
‘My mum had dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, carers came in to look after her.
I loved how they looked after her at home, so she could carry on living with my Dad, who she’d been married to forever. They were patient, coaxing and caring, they helped support her without taking away her dignity. Dad enjoyed their visits too as he liked chatting to them. They relieved him of the burden of care, and my sisters
and I felt so much more relaxed knowing they were looking after our mum so well, they made a huge difference to our whole family.’
‘Watching the carers do their job was amazing! I thought how rewarding it must be, helping people, enabling them to stay in their own home, where they really wanted to be. There and then I decided to train to become a professional care worker.’ Jackie continues: ‘It’s been a real eye­opener. Travelling between visits can be challenging at times, the traffic can be a nuisance especially at rush hour, but I like to be busy. I listen to the radio in the car inbetween care visits ­ the round I do is all pretty local. By becoming a professional care worker, my wish of making a difference to people has come true. I see the differences I make to people and the changes in them everyday, and that’s just brilliant. I always joke with them and we make each other laugh ­ it’s lovely.’
‘All my regulars are very friendly and they’re so pleased to see me when I go in, they have such big smiles. It’s fascinating too, to be caring in the community I grew up in,’ she continues. ‘You never know what you’ll find out. My Gran was the youngest of six and it turned out she was the aunt of one of my client’s – although the client was forty years older than me – so we were second cousins and she had old photos of my Gran in her album!’
Another lady I look after was an art teacher – she struggles with dementia and so she isn’t very talkative, but when she opens up and shares something of her past it feels great! I was so surprised she had been the creative type as I’d never have thought it!’
‘For me, it’s such a pleasure to be giving back to other people what those carers gave to my Mum. It’s something as a family, we’ll always appreciate and we’ll never forget! Being a professional care worker is totally different work to what I’ve done before, but one thing’s for sure I’m definitely happier now in my job than I’ve ever been!’
Oxfordshire, like the rest of the country, has a real need for compassionate and thoughtful people to help elderly people in our communities. If Jackie’s story inspires you, maybe it’s time for a career change in your life?
If you could help others in your own community, then please, get in touch!
This article was written by Esther Lafferty,
Day and Nightcare Assistance www.danacare.co.uk
 20|OACP|TALKING CARE|ISSUE 4|2017
















































































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