Real Lives

Putting grief aside to care for others

Julie Green

Julie Green is a bubbly, funny and down-to-earth member of Gaudium’s Care Team. She has the amazing ability to brighten up any room she walks into. Care work is not something Julie had ever considered in her early working life. It’s only within the past two and a half years that Julie has flourished in her role as a Care Assistant in Gaudium’s Day Centre. And within these past two and a half years she’s gone from being a so-called ‘low-skilled’ worker, to an essential key worker, providing vital support in the local community.

Gaudium’s Day Centre provides an interactive social setting for older adults and adults with disabilities or degenerative conditions, such as dementia. Julie very quickly became a permanent member of the Day Centre team, offering lively, funny and engaging activities. Her natural good sense of humour and positive attitude really brought out the best in those around her. Clients enjoyed full day sessions, from 9am until 3pm, with travel and meals included. The benefits of the sessions were clear to see in the engagement, socialisation and overall wellbeing of clients who attended.

Unfortunately, in March 2020, as with every business in the country, Gaudium was faced with difficult decisions. On the 25th of March, the day centre closed its doors to the public until further notice. This meant a switch in roles for all of the hard-working Day Centre staff. Although the switch was sudden, Julie adapted quickly and discovered a love for her newfound role. Domiciliary work is not something that she would have considered previously. However, due to the temporary closure of the Day Centre, she felt a sense of duty to her clients and her team to ‘step-up’ and embrace the challenge.

‘’Care Work is something that you really have to love’’ says Julie. This is a feeling that’s echoed by our other dedicated team members. When chatting with Julie, she explained how visiting clients’ homes has really opened her eyes to the essential work that the care team carry out. The whole team goes out of their way to ensure the safety of our clients, but equally importantly fulfils their need for social interaction, ensuring that clients do not become housebound and fearful of leaving their homes.

Julie has remained positive, with a smile on her face throughout the panic of the pandemic. However, during this time, she has also been processing her own grief following the death of her father earlier in the year, and more recently her brother, David. Devastated by her loss, and that of her mother’s, Julie moved her mum into the home she shares with her husband, Jim. This ensured her mum was safe and not alone during the pandemic. It also enabled them to share in their grief, with the time spent together becoming one of positivity, even given the sad circumstances. Julie has never let her grief affect her work, and her spirits have always remained high. She treats her clients with nothing but the kindness, compassion and the dignity they deserve.

The proof of Julie’s hard work and dedication has been expressed in the numerous compliments she’s received from clients and their families in recent months. A dear and long-time client of the Day Centre and their family expressed their thanks and appreciation of Julie’s work, ‘’Mum absolutely loved your company and looked forward to your visits. Words cannot express how grateful we are for this… Thankyou so much for everything you have done for mam and a big thankyou also to Gaudium for all their care as well.’’ This is just one of the many thanks that Julie and the whole Gaudium Team receive from clients and their families. Not one to take all the credit, Julie shares her success with the whole team, ‘’Their support and understanding throughout this difficult time has meant so much to me’’. The whole team has pulled together through this crisis, and Gaudium is thankful for their dedication to their clients.

Overall, Julie is a complete joy to have on the team and fully deserves the recognition of the Social Care Covid Hero.

And the last word goes to Julie.  ‘’ I am incredibly proud of the job that I do, I treat all my clients with the kindness and respect that I would wish for any member of my own and truly believe that I have found my calling in life. I just love my job so very much’’

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