Kim started with us at Luff House in Walton-on-the-Naze after moving to the area in late 2021. As a former care home manager, she brings a wealth of experience to the role of senior carer
I’m semi-retired and moved down from Buckinghamshire to Clacton. I had six months off work but I was so bored! I started looking for a job and when I saw this role at a Christian home it was a done deal for me.
I did a lot of research about the organisation and read up about the managers online. It all sounded very positive.
When I came to the home for an interview I thought it there was a lovely feel about the place. I was made to feel very welcome. The home even has a cat, Fred, which I thought was a good sign.
I started my career working with people with learning disabilities. I then moved into mental health. When I was made redundant, I moved into care for older people. I’m a people person and I also like to be hands-on so care is perfect for me.
As a team, we have strong leadership. Our managers, Timothy and Sharon, are very supportive. Their door is always open if you want a chat.
Being a senior carer is a busy job. No two days are the same. I need to be able to multi-task and wear many different hats.
A big part of my role is training up other people. I want people to learn from me and help them see what a rewarding role this can be.
The three key things you need to do the role of a carer are honesty, reliability and dedication. Everything else I can teach you! It’s all the little things that make the difference, like making sure you knock on someone’s door before entering their room.
We’ve got a lovely relationship with our ‘family members’ as we call everyone who lives with us. Everyone is treated with dignity and respect. We’re an extension of their family.
In care, the individual always comes first. We’re in the process of training our staff in The Way We Care (Pilgrims’ Friend Society’s bespoke approach to care). As part of this training we’re learning about the GEMS approach to dementia care. Wherever a person is on the dementia journey, they are viewed as a precious jewel. This has really helped our staff to understand dementia.
We invest a lot in our staff because we want them to stay. As part of the life of our home, we have regular team meetings. Everyone has a thorough induction and then there are regular supervision meetings so they know how to develop.
When I come to work, I’m very upbeat and jolly. I’m a very positive person anyway but when I come to work I make sure I leave all my problems at the door. I never come in looking gloomy or sad, otherwise you’re going to bring everybody else down.
I’ve been really encouraged by some of the people who have come to join our team. There is one lady, who we met at recent recruitment fair. She didn’t appear at all interested at first but as soon as we said it was a Christian home she said, “That’s my calling.” She’s come on leaps and bounds since starting here and is so committed.
There are a lot of difficult moments in this job. One the family members I was close to passed away recently. It was very emotional phoning up his family to tell them he’d passed.
There are lots of rewarding times too. For example, there’s a gent who lives upstairs. Sometimes I’ll go and ask if he wants to read the Bible. If he says” no” I tell him I’ll come back in a bit. Then when I go back he’ll say, “Come on then” and we’ll read the Bible together and I’ll say a prayer. I notice there’s a bit of an uplift in him afterwards.
Every Sunday evening we have a church service, which I love. Even if a family member can’t join in with everything, they are people watching and interacting with others so they don’t feel lonely and isolated.
We try to get everybody involved in the church service. Not just the family members but staff too. Volunteers of all ages come along to the service from a local church, Homelands, and so I get to know them. They are part of the family too.
In her spare time Kim likes to…
Walk her dogs along the beach. She has a labradoodle called Rio and a German Shepherd called Basil.
Binge watch series on Netflix. Kim says, “I’ve just finished Breaking Bad – it was fascinating.”
Dine out. Kim likes to dine out in nice restaurants.