Debbie O’Reilly is a single mum who splits care of her son with his dad. On the days and weeks she is being mum, she arranges her work hours as a clinical lead nurse at Balhousie Moyness care home to suit. “It’s all about my priority right now and that is to spend as much time with my son as I can when I’m not working. My job at Balhousie Moyness means I can fit work around him. When his dad has him, I can pick up extra shifts. If it’s out of hours or weekends, I’m getting paid a higher rate – time and half – which is great for me financially. Plus it helps that I absolutely love what I do. Working anywhere other than the private care sector just isn’t an option.” Email us now: firstname.lastname@example.org
Amber Smith joined Balhousie Care Group as a care assistant at the age of 16. Two years later she was promoted to senior carer. Six years on, she is deputy manager at a care home deep in the heart of Perthshire. “I have no nursing experience but the advantage is that I know the home inside and out. Plus, I’m a bit of an addict when it comes to training. I don’t like to stand still! Balhousie’s is top notch so I soak it all up, every course that comes along.” Email us now: email@example.com
Kerrie Nevin is a support worker in a specialist care unit run by ASC, a division of Balhousie Care Group. She works with people with severe learning disabilities and challenging behaviour. Her task is to enable those individuals to live as independently as possible in a setting that isn’t a hospital. “Next to this, the only other option is a hospital ward. That’s why many of our residents travel from all over Scotland, and beyond, to come here,” she says.
But Kerrie’s commitment, and reward, goes deeper. Her son has autism, and working in special needs gives her a better understanding of him. “I’m aware that my son may need a unit like this at some point in his future. It makes me see things differently – through a parent’s eyes as well as the eyes of a care professional. We might be looking after a 24-year-old man but that’s someone’s child, someone’s son.” Email us now: firstname.lastname@example.org
That may mean arranging regular intergenerational visits with local schools and nurseries. Or it might be the simple act of moisturising a resident’s hands. The key thing, especially for elderly residents, is that carers are sometimes the only human contact they are getting. So touch, laughter, singing and talk – all of these are a boost to the human spirit.
Ask Gillian the best bit about her job at Perthshire care home Balhousie Ruthven Towers and she doesn’t miss a beat: “The stories. I love to listen to them all. This home is a treasure trove – the residents have so much to tell.”
She adds: “We have fun, we laugh, we sing together and exercise. I love knowing that I’ve made a different to residents that day. I love to see them happy.” Email us now: email@example.com
Says Tanya Smith, Activities Coordinator at our Huntly care home: “There’s this perception that you go into a care home and you’re just counting the days until the end. It couldn’t be further from the truth for some of our residents.”
Tanya and the Huntly residents rose to fame last Spring when a BBC News crew picked up on one of the things that makes the home stand out. Every year they invite a local sheep farmer to visit with newborn lambs. Given that many of the residents grew up on farms or have links with farms, it strikes a chord and, importantly, sparks memories for them.
No sooner had the piece appeared on BBC Scotland than the media interest skyrocketed. The Huntly home appeared on BBC TV, Radio 4, and ITV’s This Morning. It had presenters Phillip Scofield and Holly Willoughby oohing and aahing over the lambs in their nappies (oh yes! Cleanliness is key).
Proving that it’s never too late to learn anything, many of Balhousie Care Group’s residents engage in foreign language learning through a programme called Lingo Flamingo. Research has shown that keeping your brain active with foreign language learning can delay the onset of dementia.
Finally, our resident Peggy has been taking swimming lessons – at 95 years young. You go, Peggy! Email us now: firstname.lastname@example.org