‘I nearly didn’t come here today as I had a bit of a wobble,” said Helen, who was making her first visit to the Carer Café at Mardons Social Club in Midsomer Norton.
I knew exactly how she felt, as it was only four weeks ago that I walked into the Bath Carers’ Centre office to take on my new job as Wellbeing Administrator, and today I was leaving the familiarity of the office and making my first outing to meet and chat with carers.
So when Helen announced to the café co-ordinator that she was a newcomer, I thought: “Great! There’s someone like me. We newbies should stick together!”
I poured her a cup of tea and we grabbed a table and it felt as if I was meeting a friend for a chat.
She told me that she had been caring since she was the age of four – first for her mum, who had passed away Christmas 2017, and now for her Nan and six-year-old son.
We discovered we had a lot in common, not only looking after our mothers, but we both had given up careers that “gave us a sense of identity.” We discussed the feeling of being at a loss when you no longer can identify yourself with your occupation, as well as the anxiety of getting back into work.
Helen gave up her job as a staff nurse just over three years ago, and now felt it was time for a “new start.” She said she “wanted to get out more,” and mentioned she’d like to do some volunteer work.
I tried to curtail my enthusiasm, but blurted out that she should speak with the Carers’ Centre as there are a number of volunteering roles available. Even though I have been working just a short time with the Wellbeing Team, I’m finding my new job incredibly fulfilling.
One of the rewards was seeing Helen’s “wobbles” disappear as she smiled and chatted with a number of other carers and care centre staff, Alex and Lindsay.
As I left to get back to the office, I had to smile too, as I realised providing support to carers, is one of the most rewarding and satisfying jobs I’ve ever done or will do.
If you’d like to come along to a carer café, give us a call and we’ll find your closest one.