"I've found my perfect job!"
A Career in Care in the New Forest with Colten Care
You only have to glance at the recruitment pages in the local papers and online, to see that the New Forest is bursting with jobs in care! It makes you wonder why there are always more jobs advertised than people applying for them, which is an issue for employers as well as for those who need care.
Going home each day with a sense of achievement and job satisfaction
We spoke to local people who have actively chosen a career in care of the elderly. They told us how they came to make that choice, what challenges they face and most importantly how and why it is that most days they go home with a tremendous sense of achievement and job satisfaction.
Bella and Aimee are carers at Linden House, a dedicated dementia care home in Lymington, rated as “Outstanding” by the Care Quality Commission. Linden House is part of the Colten Care group, a leading care home operator in the South, with a current portfolio of 20 homes and headquarters in Ringwood. This is what Bella and Aimee had to say about working for Colten Care.
Bella (left in picture) is 23 and has been working as a Health Care Assistant (HCA) at Linden House for nearly 4 years since it opened in Lymington. When she left Priestlands School at 16 she wanted to work with children but hated college so took a job in retail. Bored, and aware of her caring capabilities having looked after many nieces and nephews she adored, she switched to a job in home care for which she would receive on the job training. However the hours were not guaranteed and this wasn’t a viable option. A non driver needing to work locally, wanting more stimulus and job satisfaction and attracted by the contracted hours she saw advertised, Bella applied to Colten Care - and has never looked back.
So, was the job as expected? Much better, says Bella. She thought her role would be a kind of nursing assistant: appreciated, yet fairly passive too, responding to needs rather than instigating actions.
The reality was completely different, the job much bigger and broader with far more opportunity for initiative than she had imagined. And the job satisfaction - enormous. As she says: “When you can see the difference you’re making it’s so satisfying, like watching somebody who has been poorly and losing weight chewing with obvious relish and gaining weight again.
Our residents are like family. Friends ask me what I’m going on about - they think wiping someone’s bottom there can’t be much to it. They don’t realise about how you bond, how these people become a part of your life and when you go home or have annual leave you wonder how so and so is doing and often pop in to check, even when off duty.”
Aimee (on the right in the picture above) aged 24 attended Priestlands School too. Also loving children, she trained and started work as a pre-school teacher. But whilst caring for her own very sick father at home, learning that little things made a difference to his day and getting a lot of satisfaction from providing those small touches, she made the decision to switch career and care for the elderly instead.
“At Linden House it took a few weeks to get used to the way residents with varying forms of dementia all behave so differently, but soon it became second nature and with the close relationships you develop with others and the mutual respect within the teams, I was quickly hooked.”
Miguel, originally from Madeira, was previously a chef but always loved taking care of people and seized the chance to join the care team at Linden House.
“I love being able to do something basic for somebody who can’t do it for him or herself, like taking a shower – it makes me so happy to be able to make them clean and fresh. When somebody says they’re afraid I can reassure them and can see that they’re comforted. Small things, but such important things, which make such a difference.”
“Also the team has to work in order to have a great day. You can see the difference when the team works together. And you can help that to happen.”
Meanwhile Daniel from Madrid adds that for him the very best thing about working in care is the connection with the residents. “Living here in England alone, here in Linden House I have my family.”
Good pay, benefits and other incentives
The advertised benefits are many with good rates of pay and other incentives including a pension scheme. The provision of free hot meals and uniforms means more money in your pocket for leisure and pleasure too.
Rotas are normally published well in advance and whilst shifts can sometimes be long – and often include weekends and bank holidays - the payback is a lot more time off than in most jobs. For those who dislike the 9-5 Monday to Friday routine and appreciate the idea of lots of mini holidays, this is a real plus.
Training and career progression
Working within an outstanding care home environment, you will receive excellent training including support with studies and diploma qualifications. Many of Colten Care’s employees are studying towards Levels 2, 3 & 5 in Health & Social Care. Working within an established group of care homes means that career options are plentiful across the Company.
Sense of fulfilment from performing a vital role
Above all, caring can be immensely rewarding – you’re playing a vital role, and the sense of fulfilment and achievement which can be experienced is enormous. Many of the staff have been with Colten Care for years and have found a job they love.
As Bella and Aimee freely admit, there can be hard days, but there are many more really beautiful days. “You may have a little cry on the odd day but feel on top of the world the next. Either way, you’ll still want to come back the next day and get on with the job because the people you’re caring for are just like your family”.
And what about the ‘Personal Care’ aspect? With the benefit of good training it becomes natural very quickly. For some, it can be a bit overwhelming to begin with if you have never cared for someone before, but with great support, the transition can be easy.
Caring for people with dementia
Supported by our own Admiral Nurse, a qualified specialist in dementia and mental health, a range of best practice dementia care techniques are embedded from day one. Aimee says, “When it’s your own parent of course you just wish they could be their old selves again. But the big thing about caring for people with dementia is to go with their flow. If they ask the same question four times, you simply answer it four times – each time behaving as though it were a new question. It becomes second nature.”
What sort of people does it suit?
For many of the caring roles you don’t need any previous experience or qualifications. Much more important are your personal qualities and values; that you are a friendly individual, a kind, honest and reassuring person with good communication skills. And above all, you need patience. If you genuinely care about helping older people to make a positive difference to their lives, this is the job for you.
Find out more
If you’ve been pleasantly surprised by a lot of what you’ve just read, why not consider a career with Colten Care?
Find out more by contacting Sally Lucas or Erin Rudkin in the Recruitment Team at Colten Care on 01425 460955. They’d love to hear from you.
See also feature article in the Advertiser and Times