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Coming Back to Care

As part of our Happy Care Days blog series, Lily, one of our carers shares her experiences of what it’s like being an Abicare Carer, why she took a break from care and what made her want to come back. We hope you enjoy reading her story!

Hello, my name is Lily. I am 23 years old and have worked in the care industry for 7 years. The reason I have remained in this career is simply because I love it! There is not a job like it, every day is different and exciting, even though there are days that are harder than others. Nothing is better than winding down at the end of the day knowing you have improved someone’s day and put a smile on their face. So, I will take you from the beginning of my care journey and explain the reasons why I left and then came back.

Here is a bit more about me. From a very young age I have struggled with different mental health conditions and have found that keeping busy has always been a great help to me and my mind as it is distracting from negative thoughts. At the age of 13 I was diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder, then at 18 I was told I had depression and more recently at the age of 22 I was diagnosed with high OCD. However, having all these conditions has not stopped me from doing the thing I enjoy most, supporting people.

My whole family has worked in health and social care, so I have been involved in this from a young age. I used to always say “I’m not going to do anything like this, I’ll be the one to do something different.” How wrong I was. I first joined the care industry at age 16, I worked in a local care home as a laundry assistant/cleaner. I soon realised whilst studying my level 2 in health and social care and working alongside carers in the care home that this was the career path that would be right for me. Eventually, at the age of 18 (when I was finally old enough and had completed my level 3 in health and social care) I became part of the care team. I have never looked back.

I then left the care home I had become so fond of and took the plunge into community care (now that I was able to drive) to see what it was like to support people in their own home. This I can honestly say has been the best decision career wise I have made. Working with Abicare has given me so many opportunities and experiences that I would not be able to get whilst working in one place. I have been so fortunate to support a range of different people from different backgrounds and cultures, I’ve travelled for training and taken clients out to do activities, plus so much more. I worked here for a total of 2 years before leaving and venturing to try something new.

Leaving Abicare and the care industry in general was an extremely hard decision for me as I had become so comfortable in my job role. I knew I was good at what I did, but I decided that I wanted to have a break for a while from this career as I started to feel it taking a toll on my mental health. Working in this industry is hard, I was always told in college and school that you shouldn’t build bonds with your clients, but you just can’t help it. When you are visiting someone regularly they become a part of your life, just like us as carers become a part of theirs. Losing clients is a particularly difficult part of the job, however, I have been so fortunate to be able to support people at the end of their life, this is a feeling that I cannot even begin to explain. Even though this feeling is something very special, it did take that toll on my mental health.

My next venture led me to working in childcare, but after 5 months I realised that I missed going out and being a carer. There was no doubt in my mind at this point that I needed to go back to doing what I loved and missed so much. I was not getting the satisfaction I thought I would get from having a break from care. After speaking to the wonderful office staff at Abicare they welcomed me back with open arms. I have now been working here for the last 5 weeks and I feel very refreshed and glad to be back loving my job. Seeing past clients again has been so special, having catch ups with them and being able to support them to live their life to the fullest again has brought me great joy. There really is no feeling like this one.

I understand that often people think they will not get on well in this career, I’ve heard it many times from lots of different people, doing different jobs. However, I would just like to say that if you have the opportunity to then try it. Even if it is just for a family member to start with, I know a lot of colleagues I’ve worked with before have started their career in care from this point, and they have loved every minute of it.