Dedicated Age UK care workers need your help

Maureen Patterson
Maureen Patterson
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More home carers are needed to cover the vast area of north Northumberland. The Gazette continues its campaign to help Age UK Northumberland’s recruitment drive.

With around 4,000 homes in the Friendly Port of Amble, there is a mixed population of long-term born-and-bred residents, alongside new families who have moved ‘to the country’ and commute to the cities to work.

May Aitman

May Aitman

After the closing of factories, and the subsequent loss of employment, many younger people have moved away for work. This has led to a rise in many older people living there on their own and needing the services of a loyal and trustworthy carer.

One such carer is Amble resident, Maureen. A widower for 17 years, Maureen cycles from one house to another caring for several people each day. This is her daily routine.

Maureen needs more home care attendant colleagues to help with the older population in Amble. If you like what you read and want to explore coming on board, then more information is available at 0845 140 0088.

Maureen has been a Home Care Attendant with Age UK Northumberland for 14 years.

She loves her job and says it keeps her busy, young and active. Aged 61, Maureen has two children and two grandchildren.

As well as six older people, Maureen has qualifications that allow her to support people with special needs and, as a result, she cares for younger adults as well. Here is a diary of her normal day.

7am I look after a lovely lady who has a hearing impairment and I start my day getting her bathed, dressed and into her wheelchair so she is ready to be picked up and taken to her day-centre.

7.45am I cycle to a sheltered housing complex where I have a number of people to see to. I start with 86-year-old Mrs Ramsbottom, who has an electric wheelchair to get around her flat. She had a stroke a few years ago and this has left her with some mobility problems. I manage her personal care requirements and make her breakfast and tea. We chat while she eats.

8.15am Locking up as I leave, I next head to 92-year-old Mrs Aitman. I visit her three, sometimes four, times a day and she is very pleased to see me. Mrs Aitman is quite independent and I assist her with her specific health needs. This amazing lady has already eaten so I make her a cup of tea, make her bed and leave her to it and return at lunch-time.

8.45 Next on my list is a gentleman poorly with a serious illness. I wake him and help him with his daily bathroom routine and make his breakfast. I next administer his medication and make sure he has three glasses of water. He is very particular about that as his medication makes him thirsty. I then make him comfortable and lock up carefully.

9.15 My next call is to a lady who has dementia and is diabetic. She is able to look after herself so my main role is to make sure she remembers to take her tablets and ensure that she has made herself breakfast and eaten.

9.30 I hop back on my bike and ride to Mrs Black’s house. At 86, she is visually-impaired. She has usually had breakfast by the time I arrive, so all I need to do is give her her medication, make her bed and if necessary I hang out a wash for her.

10.00 I head to the shops and get Mrs Aitman’s shopping for when I return later. I finally get a break for a cup of coffee and head home for an hour.

11.00 It’s back to sheltered accommodation and following the same routine as the morning I make lunch for my service users. They all like different things and its important to remember their likes and dislikes.

1pm After popping past Mrs Ramsbottom’s again to make her lunch, I then go to Mr Kirkwood’s house. I only go here once a week to do his housework and support him at home.

3pm Time for a break again. But not for long as by 4pm, I need to be back at the sheltered housing. The last visits of the day are my favourite visits. I prepare dinner for everyone in their own homes and help them prepare for bed, at home, safe and sound. I spend half-an-hour with each of my lovely service users.

6pm My last job of the day is to help Mrs Aitman with her shower and get her settled for bed. It’s been a long day but I wouldn’t change it for the world. To see the difference I make to the lives of those I help is amazing. And it certainly means I sleep well too!

May, 92 is ‘simply amazing’

Mrs May Aitman is 92 years old and she lives at sheltered accommodation. Age UK Northumberland home care attendant, Maureen Patterson looks after May in her own home.

Here May explains what difference is made to her life by this service:

“I have lived here for 20 years. I like it here and am happy, and don’t want to live anywhere else. My family live in Ellington and, although they visit often, to maintain my independence I need regular help.

“Maureen has looked after me for eight years now. If she stopped coming I think I’d honestly be finished. I depend on her for a lot, as there are many things I now find it difficult or impossible to do.

“Maureen’s visits have changed my life – she has become my friend and she knows what I like and what I don’t.

“She cooks for me, helps me with my daily health needs, ensures I am safe while I shower and does jobs around the house for me. She also keeps me company. She does anything I need actually, and is amazing.”