“It’s been a long and difficult journey to get here, but I know I have done the right thing,” Lynn explained, “Caring for Mum was hard and I miss her dreadfully, but I also missed caring for her. I am so glad I am now helping other people to stay independent in their homes.”
It was at Christmas in 2016 when Lynn realised her mum Edna, was having difficulty getting in and out of her chair. Her job as an HR manager for a large insurance company took most of her time and attention and she hadn’t noticed her mum had a problem. “I felt so guilty. My job took me away sometimes and life was hectic, I barely had time for myself. Poor Mum was struggling and she didn’t like to bother me.”
When Edna had a hip replacement, Lynn took some time off work to care for her but knew she couldn’t manage on her own long term. “The help from the care workers put my mind at rest. They were lovely and Mum looked forward to seeing them every morning. When I first suggested it, she said, ‘I’ve managed perfectly well for 87 years. I don’t need help now’. Then she had a fall and reluctantly agreed.”
This worked well for some months, but Edna lost her way a few times while out Shopping. “It was very worrying. Mum was phoning me several times a day, and my boss wasn’t very sympathetic. When I dashed off to find her twice in one week, it became obvious that I needed to make a choice between work and looking after Mum.”
Edna was diagnosed with dementia, and Lynn decided to leave her job and move in with her mum. “It wasn’t a hard decision in the end. The constant meetings, endless emails and worrying about Mum was stressful. It was time to focus on what was important. It was difficult seeing her decline. She’d been such a lively, independent and vibrant woman, but now it was my turn to help her.” After two years of Lynn caring for her full-time, Edna died. “The loss was tremendous, the grief overwhelming, but things gradually got easier.”
Once Edna’s bungalow was sold and there was nothing left to do, Lynn’s life felt empty. “Not only did I miss Mum, but I felt something was missing. There were so many aspects of looking after her I’d enjoyed, like seeing her smile when I served up her favourite meal or sharing a joke. I was so grateful to have had that time with her. Not everyone has that opportunity. Then, one day I noticed a care worker visiting a house up the road and I wondered whether I could do that too.”
Lynn did some research online and realised her experience caring for her mum was just what Radfield Home Care Bexhill, Hastings & Battle was looking for – and they had an ideal part-time vacancy.
Lynn applied and was delighted to be accepted.
Following comprehensive induction training and time shadowing other carers, Lynn now has clients of her own, including Maureen who she has been supporting for six months. ”We go to the supermarket or the hairdressers and have a coffee afterwards. I even helped Maureen set up Skype so she can talk to her grandchildren in Australia!”
In fact, Lynn’s computer skills have proved very useful for another of her clients, George. “George needed help to set up online banking. It’s made his life easier now he can’t drive. We both love gardening too and often go to the garden centre together. George grows great vegetables, so we pick them, cook them and keep his freezer filled”.
One of her client’s, Celia, needs more personal care and Lynn takes great pride in helping her look well-groomed and stylish. “I love listening to her stories of life in the army during the war. Celia certainly didn’t suffer from a shortage of admirers, chocolate or stockings!”
“It’s a privilege to help people to stay in their home. I love the variety, working independently and taking responsibility for my work. I certainly don’t miss my old job.”
Working as a carer can be challenging, but with the support of her manager, if she needs it and regular staff get-togethers for colleagues to support each other, Lynn doesn’t regret a single day since becoming a Radfield carer. “I miss Mum every day, but I’m grateful that caring for her has led me to do such interesting and rewarding work with so many amazing people. I love it!”
Get in touch with your local Radfield Home Care office today and find out more about the support we offer and the difference we can make.