When mum-of-one Suraya Alvi was diagnosed with a brain tumour, she pledged to return to her dream job – if she walked away with her health.
Suraya, aged 40, was working as a carer when she was told that a tumour was the cause of the hearing loss she’d been experiencing.
As she was wheeled into theatre, she didn’t know what the future would hold and if she’d suffer any lasting effects following the surgery to remove it.
Thankfully the operation was a success but Suraya’s recovery was slower than she’d expected and she frequently found herself frustrated by her loss of independence.
“I wasn’t myself and was extremely reliant on my mum, sisters and friends for a long time. I was lethargic and had no energy at all. I thought then ‘if I can get through this and back to being myself, I want to get back to caring’.
After her full recovery, Suraya joined Home Instead Senior Care in July 2016 as a CAREGiver. A UK-wide company, Home Instead supports older people to continue living in the comfort and familiarity of their own home for as long as possible. It provides companionship-led homecare, specialising particularly in dementia care.
Home Instead holds the Queen’s Award for Innovation in elder care and matches clients to their CAREGivers based on backgrounds, interests and hobbies. Its visits are a minimum of one hour – so there’s no rushed care and lots of time for companionship.
It has 10,000 jobs available across the UK in the next two years and is looking for new CAREGivers to join its ranks.
“My own experience gave me an even deeper understanding of the frustration that many people feel about losing their independence as they age. Now I can say that I really ‘get it’ and it’s made me even better at my job,” said Suraya from Stockport, Greater Manchester.
“Caring is something I’ve always felt came naturally to me and it’s brilliant fun with this company. They really take the time to match clients to CAREGivers so I’ve genuinely had something in common with every elderly person I visit.
“So, I’m back to health and back doing work that I love. What better job satisfaction knowing that I’m helping to brighten older people’s days.”
One of the clients Suraya visits every week is 90-year-old Helen. Every Wednesday night they spend four hours playing bingo at the local working men’s club. Suraya laughs: “She’s the Queen of the club there, they absolutely love her! She’s 90 but absolutely full of beans especially when she’s got her dabbers lined up and has her eyes down for a full house!”
Suraya regularly takes selfies with her clients to show just how rewarding the profession can be to people thinking about a career in care or considering a career change completely.
“A lot of my clients really love selfies. It makes them laugh and it shows them that we’re really interested in the person and in taking time to find out about their lives. We have a mission here at Home Instead Senior Care, we’re all dedicated to changing the face of ageing – I’m doing that one selfie at a time.”