Member of the Month July 2019 - Eileen
Welcome to our latest ‘Member of the Month’ blog post. In case you missed our first article, the Member of the Month series is a chance for you to share your stories and for us to showcase outstanding members.
July’s Member of the Month is Eileen. She first worked in the care field as a student, before pursuing a career in art. More recently she returned to work as a carer and here she highlights the transferable skills she brought with her…
EYJA: What made you decide to work as a personal care assistant?
Eileen: I first worked in a residential care home back in the 1980's, when I was an art student. I then pursued a career in art, teaching in adult education and various other roles.
However, in 2015 my sister contacted me about a lady who needed a live-in carer on a rota system. I came onboard to help out temporarily, but ended up staying for 15 months and I found I really enjoyed the work.
EYJA: Has your background in art contributed to your career as a carer at all?
Eileen: My creative work is very important to me but unfortunately, it’s very hard to earn a living as an artist. But my creative background and experience of working in adult education has given me many transferable skills. Good communication and listening skills are paramount in care work.
Being an artist is all about problem solving; the creative part is really just a small element, it’s how you get there, and I think this is the same within my role as a carer/PA.
I also use my art as a voice and in 2013 received an Arts Council grant to make a project about my sister, who has epilepsy. Using art was a great way to communicate the challenges my sister faced in her everyday life.
EYJA: What do you enjoy most about working as a PA?
Eileen: Being a personal assistant has many challenges but is also very rewarding. I like the element of working one-to-one and enabling someone to reach their full potential. I also like the domestic side – if that is required – as it can be quite therapeutic to switch off whilst doing physical tasks and creating order. And if I’m working away, it’s always an added bonus to discover new places!
Live-in work on a rota system is also perfect, as it allows me to dedicate my time fully to both my carer and creative roles.
EYJA: What do you like doing in your free time? Do you have any other particular interests?
Eileen: I love visiting galleries and exhibitions, and combining them with travel. I enjoy walking and my husband and I are hoping to do the Santiago Way sometime soon.
EYJA: What about EYJA? What do you like most about our platform?
Eileen: I found EYJA very easy to navigate and like the fact you can constantly update your profile. I have only been using it for a short time but after contacting someone via the messaging service I’ve secured a new position with a trial period starting shortly.
EYJA: Finally, what advice would you give to other people who are considering moving into care work for the first time?
Eileen: Care work is very undervalued and given a lot of bad press. It’s not always an easy job and you have to be good at communication, able to empathise and have a lot of patience. It’s not just about providing care for someone, but allowing that person to live the way they wish while also developing a good relationship between you both. When someone accepts you into their home it’s very humbling, but also very rewarding when a mutual respect for each other develops.
Our thanks to Eileen for speaking with us – it was a pleasure to hear her story and we wish her all the best in her new role!
Member of the Month is our way of rewarding those members who’ve taken the time to carefully fill their profiles and share interesting information about themselves. Each month we’ll pick an interesting member and share their story on our blog. If you’d like to be featured in the future then please read this blog post, which shows you how to help your profile stand out and get chosen!