Clare Hayes – From full-time mum to Sales Assistant to Care
Each month we profile a care professional who has come into the sector after a career change and who demonstrates that it really is never too late to care! This month we meet Clare Hayes, CuraCare, who, following a role as a Sales Assistant and many years of raising her three children, was encouraged to move into the care profession by her eldest son Nathan, as he headed off to university.
Clare, who works full-time as a Care Assistant with CuraCare Twickenham, has already made a notable impression on both her colleagues and clients, despite having no previous professional care experience (her son was right!). Her role involves supporting clients in their own homes where she provides companionship, meal preparation, medication help, dementia support, personal care, chaperoning for appointments and much more. Clare can’t stand knowing that a client is in an uncomfortable situation so makes sure she is never late and is always equipped with what she needs to help.
Clare’s bright and positive approach to her job and fantastic sense of humour has meant that she maintains a natural connection with her clients, providing them with much needed uplifting care.
Clare quips, “I love to sing along or, where appropriate, joke with my clients. I would frequently say to one of my regulars, who I looked after twice daily, that when I come back at lunchtime, I’ll make you something to eat and we’ll have a little dance around”.
Being a mum of three (her eldest now 25) has meant that Clare came to the role with bags of care experience. As well as her second son experiencing learning and developmental challenges at school, requiring extra support, Clare also cared for her Nan. She regularly undertook her weekly shop, kept her company, prepared her evening meals and supported her at bedtime.
Just over four years ago, when her youngest was 10 years old, Clare decided that she wanted to explore the idea of doing something that put her first. So she became a Sales Assistant at The Works, where she remained for 3 years. As her eldest son flew the nest for university his parting words were that she would be great in the care profession, as she naturally cared for Nan so well. Even though others also said Clare should go into care, she felt that she knew her Nan, and doing it as a professional would be totally different. She worried that she would not be able to properly fulfil clients’ needs but, despite her doubts, she took the plunge and has not looked back since. Asked whether going into care was right for her, Clare says “My only serious regret is that I didn’t do it years ago!”
Her hard work and winning attitude has not gone unrecognised. Since joining in April 2019, Clare was nominated for ‘The Richmond
Community Dignity in Care Awards 2019’ and was a ‘Care Newcomer’ finalist at ‘The Great British Care Awards in London
Clare says “The best part of my job is seeing my regulars” citing Gladys, whose face beams as she walks through the door and Arthur, who is 102 and entertains her with stories of the war and his adventures since. Referencing the much-treasured companionship she so naturally provides, Clare comments; “Some of my clients don’t see anyone. I leave there thinking that I put a smile on their faces”.
Clare concludes: “I enjoy the challenges every day. What to expect and what not to expect. The crazy thing is that, when I had a week off, I couldn’t wait to get back to work. I missed my clients. I have an urge now to be at work”.