Caring Through Christmas

Christmas is a favourite time for our carers. Here, two Bluebirds share what it’s like to care for people at the most wonderful time of the year.


Christmas is a favourite time for our carers. Here, two Bluebirds share what it’s like to care for people at the most wonderful time of the year.

Cheryl, Care Assistant

Now into her second year as a Bluebird, Cheryl has already spent one Christmas in our familiar blue uniform – but had 23 years’ experience as a carer to call upon when we sat down for a chat.

“I really enjoy care,” she says. “Especially at Christmas. Some of our customers don’t have anyone and at Christmas I really like to see them smile when I leave, give them more care and love. There can be loneliness and sometimes I don’t want to leave because I can feel so sorry for them! So if I can put a smile on their face, I will.

“Basically, if I can see something needs doing, like they have clothes lying around or their housework needs doing, I get on and do that for them if they’re happy for me to. I’ll offer to make them meals and if they say they aren’t hungry, I’ll try and encourage them and say “I can make something that’s always in the fridge if you fancy it.

“Some people think working in care is easy but it isn’t. You’ve really got to have that caring bone in your body. But when I get to see their little smiles, it’s wonderful. I like just sitting with my customers and talking to them, going through old photos, hearing their stories of when they were younger – I just love it.

“For instance, one lady told me about what she had in the war – completely different to what we have now! There were blimps in the sky dropping bombs, and she only had the one present… it’s very heart-warming to hear because it makes you grateful for what you have now!

“If I was going to share some advice on caring for someone through Christmas it would be: just be there for them. Listen to them. Support them. Love them. Show them care and that you’re there, no matter what. Make sure they know they’re not alone and they’re never alone. Some of my customers get emotional because they’ve got no one around but as a carer you’ve just got to fill that gap and reassure them. I tell them ‘you’re not alone, we’re always here to support you, any time of the day.’

Asked what advice she’d give to would-be carers wondering what care can be like at Christmas, she says:

“It’s not all about working all days on bank holidays. Even if you give a customer an hour of your day, that will put that smile on their face and show them that people out there do care. It’s about seeing their smile when you walk in that door, and walk out an hour later.

“When my job’s done, and they’ve got a smile on their face, I’m happy,” she says. “Everyone’s human, we’re all the same, we all have feelings. You’ve just got to show it. Be there for them. Give them all the love and support, as much as you can.”

Jackie, Care Assistant Supervisor

With thirty years in care behind her, our Worthing office’s staff supervisor Jackie is one of the most experienced care industry workers you’ll find anywhere. Her role mainly revolves around supporting our Bluebirds out in the field, but she also has decades of history looking after people herself during the festive season.

“The biggest part of my role at Christmas is making sure our staff get the days and hours they’re available,” says Jackie. “It can also be a case of finding people who are free to do a couple of hours here or there – filling the gaps to make sure our customers get the best care possible. It can be a bit like a puzzle, but I also have to make sure our team get some rest and time with their families. That’s very important.

“Over the Christmas period we have a lot of customers who don’t see their family, or don’t have any family. Our carers, might be the only person they see that day, so it makes it so important we get them in and make it fun for our customers. We want them to enjoy their day, have their care needs met and also feel a part of something.

“Sometimes our carers will maybe cook a Christmas dinner, or do something they wouldn’t normally do. Everybody feels that on Christmas Day we want to give that little bit of extra service to our customers so they feel important, and like they’re not missing out on anything. If they want help opening cards, or an extra Christmas meal cooked, then our team would do that too. It sounds quite a small thing but it can make such a difference.

“Of course, our staff all have families and a lot of them have children. It’s important that they get a work-life balance, so we always give them an option of what they’d prefer to work over Christmas. If they’re hoping to go visit family we try to be as flexible as we can. Some staff love to work Christmas Day itself, but others have younger children and want to be there for opening presents. So as much as possible we try to make it all fit.

Asked about her personal favourite Christmas caring memories, Jackie breaks out into a big nostalgic grin.

“Back when I used to work in the field I used to dress up on Christmas Day as Mrs Christmas and give everyone a present. I loved it! It was just wonderful. Such a special day and I felt like I was spoiling everyone. Christmas itself is a lovely day to work, actually. A lot of people like to work it because it’s a day where you can make other people feel a bit special and have a little bit of fun with it. Some of our carers even sing Christmas carols with customers! It just lights up someone’s day.

Asked about her tips to help people who are caring through Christmas, Jackie ponders for a second, then says: “Do all the things you’d normally do at Christmas and make it as inclusive as you can. You may have to carry out care but try to make it fun. Out some Christmas music on, open presents, and make it a family occasion rather than just another care day.”

And what about people who are curious about working in care, but have never worked a Christmas holiday period before?

“Oh, I’d say Christmas is one of the very best times to be a carer!” insists Jackie. “those people who are isolated, who don’t see anyone… you’re making such a difference to their lives. If they’re feeling lonely or down, just having that visitor on Christmas Day, if you get them singing a few songs and having a little dance… it just makes so much difference. It’s a license to be silly on Christmas Day. We do the job to make a difference, and if there’s any day you’re going to make a difference, it’s Christmas Day!”

Are you considering a career in care?

If you’ve been thinking about changing industries for a while and always wondered about working in care, now really is the perfect time. Visit our Worthing carers jobs page here to see our open roles, or take a look at the blogs below to get more of a feel for life as a Bluebird during every part of the year.


Related posts