the sun interviews carer julie riddell

11/12/2020
Our wonderful carer, Julie Riddell, caught up with The Sun for an interview on what it’s like to be a live-in carer, and even had her very own (socially distanced) photoshoot! 

Read The Sun article here >

Name: Julie Riddell

Age55

Job TitleLive-in Carer

How did you get into the job – and what were you doing for work beforehand?

When I first left school, I worked in a nursing home, following which I then went on to work in hospitality and events. I travelled quite a lot of the world working in different restaurants and getting involved with charity events. But, as much as I loved working in hospitality, there were a lot of late nights involved and around 5 years ago, I decided to slow down a bit.

I’d just got back from working a season in Ibiza, and I was wondering what to do next when I drove past Consultus Care and Nursing head office in Kent. So, I just popped in to enquire about becoming a live-in carer and within the same week, I successfully completed my interview and started the two week training programme.

The trainers were absolutely amazing; they didn’t make us feel uncomfortable if we didn’t know anything, they just helped us to learn. I also met other trainee live-in carers from all different walks of life and it was a great experience to share together.

What does a typical day involve?

Everyday it is my duty to ensure my client receives the best possible care, not only physically but mentally too. A typical day usually involves assisting my client to get out of bed and helping them with their personal care. I help them to choose what they want to wear, and help to dress them. It’s also really important to assist my clients with their medication to make sure that they have taken it.

I love to cook, so I always ask them what they’d like me to prepare for them. During the first lockdown earlier this year in March I’d create artistic dishes of food using flowers from my clients’ garden to decorate. My client at the time couldn’t visit her beloved garden so it was my way of bringing the outdoors in, and she absolutely loved it.

Every day, I’ll ask my client what they’d like to do with their day to ensure we’re making the most of the day rather than them sitting in a chair, which is probably what they do if they’re on their own. It might be going for a walk, or doing activities indoors like baking a cake, drawing or listening to some poetry. Sometimes we’ll even get dressed up and do a mini photoshoot, or quite simply my client might want to nap – whatever makes them happy.

What kind of qualities do you need? And any specific qualifications?

Naturally you have to be a responsible and caring individual. Importantly you should have a real passion for making a positive difference to others. If you have those qualities then everything else is possible to learn in your two weeks of training at the Consultus Care and Nursing training centre. During this time it’s also possible to stay at the Consultus Care and Nursing house, a communal house where carers are invited to stay while undertaking training and also for those who are on breaks in between care placements. It’s a great place to meet other carers to share experiences and knowledge.

Once your training is complete, you are paired up with a care consultant who supports you throughout your journey in your new career. It’s a great opportunity to build a bond with your consultant, it also helps to ensure you are correctly matched and placed with each client.

Importantly, you can be yourself. I’m an artist as well as a live-in carer; this allows me to add a creative flair to my role and my clients love it!

What are the best things about the job?

Where to begin? There are just so many rewarding parts of the job, but I think it really boils down to the basics: Simply being a friend and helping somebody. There is nothing better than helping to put a smile on your client’s face, whether that be through an activity that you’ve done together, or simply listening to your client share some heartwarming memories over a cup of tea.

And what are the most challenging?

As with any job, there are of course some challenges. But it’s possible for you to adapt to certain situations and there are many tools available to help. Some of my clients have dementia, and I find that music can often help in a challenging moment.

I would say that for some people, it can be challenging being away from your family home and friends while you are working. For me personally, I like to work for two weeks of the month where I can give my full attention to my client, and then spend the other two weeks at home. I’ve found this has actually helped me to organise my life better; my friends and family all know that for the first two weeks of every month, i’ll be away working and for the rest of the month, i’ll be free to make plans and do whatever I want.

Why would you recommend the job to others?

Aside from being such a rewarding career, you
get to meet so many different people – each and everyone has a different story to tell, it’s really interesting and you learn a lot about life. 

Live-in care also gives you quite a lot of flexibility – you can choose how long you want to work for, for example, if you live abroad for half of the year then you only choose to work for six months, or if you want to work only two weeks of each month, that is possible too. As is opting to work full time.

You also get to travel the UK and visit lots of different beautiful places, I’ve seen more of the UK than ever before since becoming a live-in carer. I love photography, so I’ve been able to combine the two when I’m working. I’ll get my client involved too and we have a great time visiting beautiful spots together and shooting fun photographs. 

And what advice would you give to people who want to move into the industry?

Recently a lot of people have sadly lost their jobs in hospitality and retail, and here stands a new opportunity, so I would say go for it! The well known saying goes; ‘as one door shuts, another opens’ and you’ll be amazed at just how fulfilling being a live-in carer is. At the moment, my employer; Consultus Care and Nursing, is offering a complimentary training package. There really are so many great schemes out there to help you embark on your new career.

It’s also an industry in demand meaning that your job is very secure, you don’t have to worry about having no work, or being made redundant.

I’d also highly recommend that you do some research into your potential employer, speak to other live-in carers and find a great supportive provider to work for. Sometimes the job, like most, is challenging and having the right support behind you will make all the difference.

What kind of pay and benefits can you make?

Carers can earn between £650 – £945 per week depending on which hours you choose to work and how many holidays or breaks you choose to take.

Additionally, since you live with your clients, it enables you to save on your own living expenses. All of your food and travel expenses are paid for so It‘s a great way to save money.

Get in touch today, if you’re looking for a new rewarding career in care call our Recruitment Team 01732 355231 or email recruitment@consultuscare.com

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