Visiting care offers great work-life balance for mums like Aga
Mother of two, Aga, had worked and managed large chain restaurants for over 15 years but is now working as a visiting carer for Trinity Homecare in the Sutton, Cheam and Worcester Park region. Bringing up two children, aged three and eight, has proven to be a challenge in her previous career but now, Aga has the “work-life balance” she has been seeking for some time.
“Once I started to have a family, the shifts in the restaurant became too much. The restaurant was expanding very quickly and I needed to focus on my family life”, Aga explains.
When Aga left, she decided to pursue a career in designing functional art with glass, metal, and stone. Her company “Amber glass designs” was very successful and she very often runs gallery exhibitions and sold her art through websites and platforms such as Etsy.
However, when the pandemic hit the UK, the events that Aga would usually sell her artwork had been cancelled, putting her sales back.
“I did my last market in December but the markets and gallery closed and I found myself in a position where I wasn’t sure where to go. My husband still works in hospitality and he moved to the private sector. His job was on hold too and we found ourselves at home together for the first time in ages.
Whilst it is nice to be in with the family, I am not one to stay home and do nothing. We had the income but I wanted to do something to fulfill myself and the Care sector was the only one hiring during the lockdown.”
Aga had never really considered care as a career opportunity but after she was recommended through a friend, she was put in touch with Trinity Homecare’s Director, Mike Smith, and was able to complete an online application.
Whilst Aga has never worked in the care sector before, she has experience caring for her father who has Alzheimer’s disease which put her in good stead for the position.
“My dad has Alzheimer’s and it was one of the deciding factors for me joining Trinity Homecare. He has had Alzheimer’s for the last 12 years and I know how upsetting it can be when a loved one begins to get confused.”
Aga says that whilst she feels her experience with her father made her a suited candidate for a job in care, she was a little apprehensive at first about how working with other people with Dementia or Alzheimer’s may have an impact on her personally.
“I was really upset and worried when my dad was getting confused. For the last three years, he has been immobile and unable to speak. Watching that and then seeing people coming and going is difficult.”
However, Aga explains that when she was with her father, she saw him engaging with the carers and nurses and was able to get an understanding of the illnesses with a far better insight.
Weighing up her options, Aga joined on the 27th of April for training and by mid-May, she had started working with Trinity, initially being shadowed by other experienced, Senior Carers.
“I have only got one client who has a very similar case to my dad but I think by being with dad and seeing the different triggers and what he responds to has helped. I am able to make suggestions and recommendations such as sensory products to clients that I have found useful with my father.”
On of the service users that Aga cares for, suffers from the after-effects of a stroke. Her mobility is weakened and Aga suggested a sensory “stroke ball” which the client loves and finds very useful.
“I guess you learn on the job. Every individual is so different and some have far more complex needs than others. But the more you visit them, you soon begin to realise what makes them ‘tick’ and when you make a breakthrough, it really is amazing.”
Aga explains that her favourite thing about her job at Trinity is that “no day is the same.” Very often, she finds herself getting excited by what the day ahead has in store for her.
“I work with different clients and different shifts but I get excited when I get in the car. I check my visits on the app and wonder what the day holds. It’s never boring and that’s why I find it very refreshing. It has been a great chance to have different adult conversations and be able to then return home and get back to my mum duties”
Despite only being with the company for less than three months, Aga has already started visiting regular service users, all of whom she “adores.”
“One lady is 95 and she was adamant she didn’t want support from carers. She used to get slightly upset with this. I decided to try a different approach and I approached her about her wonderful art and we bonded over that. I asked her to make a bookmark for my daughter and that’s how I broke the ice. My daughter wrote her a letter. She soon began to warm up to us and now she is much more comfortable with the idea of getting support. Each client has a different story.”
Aga also goes on to explain how she has settled into the team very well which has helped her in her new role.
“I feel like I have worked for here years. The team has been very welcoming and even though I haven’t met some of the team because of the pandemic, I have had regular contact over the phone. My manager, Claire Ferguson and Gemma Kearny are all so fantastic.
She also feels that the training is highly beneficial, particularly for someone who is new to care.
“The training was very different from what I was taught but I think it was brilliant. Marissa was such a gentle soul. She informed us but got us excited and answered all our questions, in the midst of lockdown. It was 2 days in the office and one day online. She managed to send all the relevant stuff over and we did the practical tasks in the office.
Hats off to Marissa as she has a calm demeanor. She has experience herself and she was very brilliant. When I completed it I was so eager to go. The fact that you are given the information you can further training leaves you with a great attitude and I am already so keen to get on with the extra training and progress. I know that with the support in place, I can move further up in the company.”
Feeling satisfied with her experience at Trinity Homecare so far, Aga urges others to join. She says:
“There is no way I would have thought about joining. It was only because of COVID-19 I was pushed into this path. I have given it a go and any misconceptions I have had are gone now.
If you are a people person and an open person who is willing to take on a daily challenge, try it. You will get great fulfillment and walk away knowing you’ve done something special.
Aga continues to work in the Sutton region, providing an outstanding level of care. Outside of work, Aga is able to look after her children and continue her creative business in functional art.