Fifty-five-year-old Jim Kelly has been a home care attendant with Age UK for more than two years.
Having been a self-employed decorator for most of his career, Jim needed a change and a role that allowed him freedom to look after his disabled wife Linda.
Having originally taken a caretaker’s post at a local school, Jim realised his forte was more looking after people, and he joined Age UK Northumberland as a home care attendant.
Jim now looks after at least six people a day, working between 40 and 45 hours a week.
He says his working day can start anytime around 6.30am and end around 9.30pm but that he gets plenty of breaks during the day to spend with Linda, which suits him to the ground.
The people Jim cares for in Alnwick range from the age of 52 up to the grand old age of 96.
He also covers for other home care attendants if needed and can be found as far afield as Shilbottle, Swarland, Felton and Craster.
Ninety-nine per cent of those people are still in their own homes and he provides a range of services including seeing to personal and medical needs, cooking, cleaning, shopping, bed baths and taking people out for a change of scenery and some fresh air.
Jim has one ‘private’ user that he looks after, who lives in a local care home.
Eighty-eight-year-old Mary Atkinson, who likes to be known as Anne, has a son and grandchildren but they live in Doncaster.
She has a sister-in-law, Molly, too, who visits her every Saturday.
Anne, however, was keen to have some freedom from the home and to be able to visit her husband, who has to live at another home, so Jim comes and collects Anne two to three times a week and takes her out.
Jim said: “Anne is a lovely lady who has personally set up a contract for Age UK Northumberland to get her out and about a few times a week.
“I take her to the shops, to the hairdressers and most importantly to see her husband Jack.
Sadly, the couple couldn’t get places in the same home so our trips to see Jack, who is at another care home in Alnwick is the highlight of Anne’s week.”
Anne concluded: “The home looks after me very well, but I needed some flexibility and independence.
“Jim is a lovely man and he takes me to places, in a safe and reliable manner.
“I love to visit Jack and Jim makes sure that happens.”
More information on the services available from Age UK Northumberland can be found by visiting www.ageuk.org.uk/northumberland