"It takes ages to finish a quilt you're not working on!"

Monday, July 18, 2005

The Oldies in my life.

Unlike so many people these days, I love my job. I love what I do, and the people I do it for. When I was nearly 16 years old, I started my first job doing office work. I never really liked what I did; it was never a career - just something I had to do to pay the bills! I continued doing various kinds of office work until I turned 51, and decided that it was time to retire, and get a life! I had wanted to do volunteer work with the aged for years, but never had enough time, so I took that on as soon as I quit work. I visited people in their homes, and others in nursing homes, and I loved doing it, although what I saw and heard at times nearly broke my heart. After six months, I was offered a part time job in one nursing home, and I took it on, staying until the place closed down.
Then I found this job working for the council and it suited me perfectly as the hours are flexible, i.e. I can decide which days I work, and how many jobs I do each day. I am a carer - I go to private houses and carry out various duties for the elderly and/or disabled people who live there. I can do housework such as vac and dust, mop floors, etc., as well as washing and ironing. I can also do their shopping, or take them to medical appointments. I am a certified Personal Carer, which means I can assist in bathing and dressing people who need help in that area. I can visualise most people reading this thinking "gosh she must be hard up for fun if she likes doing all that so much!" Well, I really don't mind any kind of housework - even my own. My house is not perfect by any means; it is clean without being spotless, and it is reasonably tidy, if not a showpiece! Looking after other people's houses is actually more fulfilling for me than sitting at a desk 9 to 5. I feel I am achieving something worthwhile, when my clients are so grateful to me for doing something they are unable to do themselves.
The down side of this job is seeing 'how the other half live'. I often say to my elderly clients "There are no surprises for me in my old age - having worked with so many of you, I know what is in store for me!" There are widows who have had several children, who in their turn have had children, and some of my clients even have great-grandchildren. But most of them rarely see these family members, except at Christmas if they are lucky. They sit alone in their homes, often in poor health, day after day, week after week, month after month, without phonecalls, letters or visits from their families. I get so angry and disgusted, but of course there is nothing I can do. Over the years, people have said to me "You'll be sorry you never had kids - nobody to look after you in your old age". Really?? HAH! I have living proof there is no guarantee that your offspring will care for you when you are old and sick.
I could write a book on what I have seen and heard in my work and volunteer duties in the last 5 years, but I would have to change a lot of names, and even then, anybody who felt guilty about the way they treat their parents would recognise themselves in a flash, and I would be in the courts for invasion of privacy or some other politically incorrect misdemeanour! So, I won't write a book. But I will from time to time when the mood is upon me, write in my blog a few lines about some of the people I care for and visit, because it is a very important part of my life, and I learn so much from these people, that I want to document it in some way. If it bores anyone who is a regular reader of Patra's Place, I make no apologies. This is MY blog! But keep coming back - there will always be new pieces of linen, swap cards and autograph books (that reminds me, I have some more of that to scan!)

1 comment:

Medieval Lady said...

Hi Gina,
That is awesome that you are happy with what you're doing. I relate so much to some of what you said. I'm in the process of attempting to switch careers.
I'm wondering if it's the right thing to do. I feel like I've been jobless forever. But the jobs here in the U.S. are tight. What a time to make a change!? lol
But even tho I'm not getting a paycheck I still find lots to keep me working. ;-) Speaking of which the dryer is calling me.
Patty