Molly began her caring journey out in the community, where she quickly realised she had found what she was good at and enjoyed most. Since then, Molly came to work with us at Westall House, starting as a Care Assistant and progressing into her current role; Head of Dementia Care.
We spoke to Molly in more detail about her journey and the benefits of a career in care.
What are the benefits of a career in care?
- The first and most prominent is that it is incredibly rewarding
It's well-known that a career in care is fulfilling. Every day, you’re helping someone and making their life a little easier. Knowing that you are making a difference to those who are older or vulnerable provides a real sense of achievement that’s difficult to experience in any other role. You'll be making real connections with residents, their families and other members of staff.
- You'll learn new skills and gain real qualifications
You can start as a Care Assistant with no qualifications, as long as your willing to work towards achieving them over time. Abbeyfield, like many other organisations, provide relevant on-the-job training to ensure you have all the necessary knowledge to do your job. You can also complete further qualifications following an NVQ Level 2.
- You have flexibility in your working days/hours
Not everyone is looking for a 9-5. Working in care offers the flexibility you need to balance out any commitments in your personal life.
- There's lots of opportunity for progression
There is so much opportunity for progression in the care industry. You can become a specialist, senior, management, head of, support worker - the possibilities are endless!
- No two days are the same
Working in care is fun! You'll be working with your team to create the best environment possible for residents; running activities, having a chat, hearing their amazing stories and more.
Tell us a bit about you and your background
"I live at home alone, with my kitten, I’m very close to my family and friends. One of my favourite things to do is bake cakes for my family and friends and when I can, I like to bring in some for staff and residents of Westall House to enjoy. I’ve made some delicious birthday cakes for our residents birthdays before! I have studied a NVQ Level 2 and NVQ 3 in Health & Social Care and I’m currently working towards Level 4, Lead practitioner.
"I used to work in Lewes providing care at home, I did this for about a year and loved it. However, I felt like I needed a change in order to be able to progress further in my career. I knew I had found what I was good at and enjoyed. When I came for an interview at Westall House, it felt right straight away and I knew I wanted to work there. Management and members of staff were so friendly and made me feel welcome. I was offered the job of a Care Assistant and I haven’t looked back since. Now I am Head of Dementia Care – I will have been here for 8 years in May 2021."
What’s a typical day at Westall House like for you?
"A typical day at Westall House for me involves assisting the residents to get ready for the day, helping them to wash/bath and dress, helping them choose what they would like to wear, talking to them about their life; I love learning new things about them. If they need help with doing their hair or nails I help them.
"I also help residents with activities (which are fantastic!). The food here is amazing and all the residents love it. Sometimes at lunch, after everyone has finished eating, the staff will break into song and dance, it’s great to hear the residents laughing and seeing them smile.
"Another important part of my role is to administer medication, keep up to date with paperwork, update resident care plans, and liaise with other health care professionals such as doctors and district nurses to make sure our residents get the best care. Some days can be challenging, especially this year with COVID-19 – trying to keep the residents spirits up and looking after their mental and emotional wellbeing has been difficult at times. But the majority of the time everyone is feeling good and enjoying themselves."
What made you want to pursue a career in care?
"When I was at school and college, I suffered a lot with anxiety and I felt I didn’t get the help I needed. So I wanted to makea a difference to someone else’s life, I guess in a way making up for what I didn’t get, I thought if I could just make a difference to one person’s life then it’s all worthwhile.
"Within the care sector you make a difference to someone’s life with even the little things; having a chat, doing their hair, doing their nails or even just being there for them. I would 100% recommend a career in care, it is so rewarding. It can be challenging at times as with any job, but I love it and no day is the same."
What opportunities for progression are there with a career in care?
"There are many opportunities for progression in care. You can start as a Carer, then progress onto a Senior Carer, Head of Care, Management, and much more – the possibilities are endless! Every single person in every role helps the residents in some way; Kitchen Assistants, Maintenance Workers, Laundry Assistants, Chefs – everyone plays a key part in the residents care and wellbeing."
I enjoy helping the residents most. I love being able to do their hair and nails. The best part of it is making them laugh and smile, especially in recent times.
What is the atmosphere at Westall House like at this time of year? What is your favourite part?
"I love the festive season at Westall House, it is full of Christmas spirit and there are Christmas trees everywhere! We do so many festive activities from Christmas bakes, Christmas quizzes, Christmas jumper day, Elf day, carol services, residents Christmas party and over the years we have done ‘Pimp My Ride’ where the residents decorate their Zimmer frames, wheelchairs and rollators! It’s great fun and they really love it!
"On Christmas day, we have a theme each year with what we dress up as, last year we all wore Christmas pyjamas and other years before that we have dressed up as Christmas characters. This year we had T-Shirts printed and wore Christmas leggings. The resident’s love it each year when we dress up, it makes them laugh and smile. I choose to work Christmas day every year because I love it so much."
How was this Christmas different for you, the team and the residents?
"Christmas was very different this year as we would usually have events on where family members come in and join in with the festive fun. Many of the residents usually go to their loved ones over the Christmas period too, which of course they couldn’t do.
"We have a pod that was specifically built for Westall House to enable family to visit their relatives safely. We did everything we could to ensure the residents had the best Christmas they could. We are very lucky here as we are like one big family."
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
"I wouldn’t have wanted to spend lockdown this year with any other team. We are like a family and I love my job. I was once told ‘if you love your job, you will never work a day in your life’. I’m also very lucky to have my Grandad living at Westall House in the sheltered housing development. I get to see him on a daily basis and I feel lucky to be able to, especially over this past year.
"I feel lucky to work with such an amazing team and wonderful residents. Although this year has been incredibly tough, we have all pulled together as a team and made this year as special as we can."
Westall House and other houses and homes are hiring. Search our latest vacancies at Abbeyfield and apply today.
Please note: Photos with residents were taken before the COVID-19 pandemic.