A lack of prior experience didn’t stop Claire Calder from embarking on an entirely new career in care – and now she can’t think of a more rewarding role.
Following a decade of office-based work and another bringing up her children, mother-of-three Claire Calder decided the time was right to return to work.
Looking for job that fitted in with her family life, and inspired by her mother – a nurse of 45 years – she wondered if care was her calling. “This was new ground for me entirely,” Claire admits. “Other than looking after my dad for a short while before he passed away, I was absolutely new to care.”
It was also, she says, a thought going back to work after so long, but it didn’t prevent her from following up on a recommendation from a neighbour who works as a Personal Assistant (PA) for a Cornerstone SDS client, to enquire about local, one-to-one care opportunities.
“This was new ground for me entirely. Other than looking after my dad for a short while before he passed away, I was absolutely new to care.”
“It all happened very quickly,” says Claire. “I looked on the website, and a job came up working for a gentleman in the village, helping out with household tasks and giving him some company for a couple hours each afternoon.” Claire applied and was invited to meet the family on the same day, and was offered the job there and then.
“We just hit it off straight away,” she says. “John’s good fun and enjoys a laugh. We get on so well, and his family are happy to leave me to it, although I know I can always phone them if I need anything or have any concerns.”
Able to pick and choose her hours within reason, and living so close to her client and his family, Claire relishes the flexibility of the job. She also feels a huge amount of satisfaction knowing that she’s helping someone else. “The whole arrangement is rewarding and relaxing,” she says. “John’s so grateful when I make his bed or his lunch – tasks which might seem small to me, but which are big things to him. He’s always absolutely delighted when I do them, and often says, ‘I don’t know what I’d do without you, Claire.’”
“Although I’m quite happy to do anything for John now, for the time being he’s just happy with me just making his bed and his lunch, or taking him out of the house.”
As well as being supported by John’s family, Claire points to the support she’s received from Cornerstone SDS – specifically John and his family’s local Cornerstone SDS Advisor, and Cornerstone SDS’s new PA Advisor.
“It’s all been pretty straightforward,” she says. “I’ve been very luck with my client, I think. It’s more of a companionship role at the moment, and although I’m now quite happy to do anything for John now, for the time being he’s just happy with me making his bed and his lunch, and taking him out of the house every now and again.
“For others considering a career in care, particularly if, like me, they’ve not got any prior experience, my advice would be to go for it. You’ll never know if you don’t try – and for me, with the support I’ve got and the reward I feel, it’s turned out to be brilliant.”
What Simon (John’s dad, Claire’s employer) says...
“Claire started caring for my dad in early 2022. Such a pleasant and approachable person, she is extremely helpful and, when asked, is really flexible with her time. She regularly helps my dad, going out of her way to ensure he meets his appointments. She is proactive in her approach to helping, always keeping herself busy.
“Her communication is always first class. Holidays are well communicated in plenty of time, allowing me time to arrange alternatives. If anyone else was looking for a carer, I’d have no hesitation in recommending Claire.
“Most importantly, my dad thinks she is great!”