Health and Wellbeing

Could you care for someone like Jim?

Posted on: 8 October 2019

An 83-year-old Sidmouth man has praised the care and respect his care workers have shown him, and he says that their professionalism has helped him maintain his dignity in old age.

Jim Dixon moved to the Malden House Residential home in Sidmouth in January.
He says that the conscientiousness and compassion showed by staff is very important to him and improves his quality of life. Jim

“Sidmouth is such a beautiful part of the world, and I really like the food they serve here!
“But what really makes the difference is that Jan (Jim’s care worker) and the other care workers are so friendly and do everything they can to make sure that I am happy, comfortable and supported, and that they are there to help me as my needs change,” said Jim.

“I’ve only been here since the start of the year but over that time we have all become very good friends.”

Devon has a lot to offer people wanting to work in care – however, despite the gratitude of people like Jim there is a shortage of care workers in the county.

Currently there are approximately 18,000 direct care roles in the county, and Skills for Care estimates that 5.4% – around 1,000 – are vacant at any one time.

This shortage adds extra pressure to care providers in the lead up to winter, a time when the elderly are particularly vulnerable and may need extra support.

Now, at this crucial time, people are being urged to put aside their preconceptions and consider working in the care sector.

In a recent survey, local care workers told Devon Cares that the biggest reason why they work in the industry is because what they do is rewarding.

While a separate study by Transform Research revealed that care workers like making a positive impact on people’s lives, the varied nature of the work and the camaraderie with residents and colleagues – and the appreciation of people like Jim.

“I understand that working in care is not always plain sailing,” said Jim. “But I have always felt that it’s much more than a job to them, that they find it hugely rewarding knowing that they have helped make someone’s life better.

“I’m grateful that they take the time to understand my needs, that they can recognise when I need help and when to step in, and when to take a step back.

“To be able to recognise when I want to do something myself is important to me and my sense of dignity.”

A shrewd investor, Jim worked hard to retire at 50 and spent many years travelling all over the world with his wife of 60 years Jean, who he calls an ‘amazing lady.’ Sadly Jean died in 2015.

Today Jim enjoys living in Sidmouth and spends much of his time reading and watching films.

He added: “They are lovely people and I hope they know how much I appreciate them, their help and the time they take to ensure that I am happy.”

Sally-Ann Turner, of Proud to Care Devon, said: “Care and health workers have the potential to make a massive difference to someone like Jim.
“This can make it a very rewarding and fulfilling job, providing a real sense of achievement that’s difficult to experience elsewhere.
“However, like in many parts of the UK, Devon, has struggled to recruit and retain enough care workers and this is particularly a problem in the lead up to the care sector’s busiest period, winter.
“Care workers are highly skilled, highly valued, empathetic individuals who are as necessary to the healthcare system as our district nurses, GPs and pharmacists.
“If you care about people and enjoy social interaction, a role in care could be just for you.”

If you are interested in starting a career in care and health, search current job vacancies here at the Proud to Care website.

Posted in: Community