With the first anniversary of the first COVID lockdown approaching, two Bournemouth-based carers have been reflecting on the past year.
Ellie Pflanz and Phillippa Stephenson, from Good Oaks Home Care, both changed careers to become care professionals during the pandemic. Here, they talk about how the decision changed their lives.
Phillippa, 34, joined Good Oaks after business with her self-employed dog walking company came to a halt. She had always been used to care work, having helped look after her sister, who has special needs, from a young age.
Reflecting on the career move, she said: “I didn’t go into it thinking it would be easy. I thought ‘what will my clients think of me, will they be worried about me coming into their home and looking after them?’ But as soon as I started, I found it easy, it was almost as if I was born for care, it came so naturally.”
She added: “It’s been a complete career change for me, I can’t see myself doing anything else. Working in care changes your life and your perceptions and changes the lives of the people you are caring for.”
Ellie, 23, was working as a hairdresser in 2020 and was furloughed during the first lockdown.
She said: “I could have stayed on furlough, but I kept thinking about all the people that needed care and how I could help someone. I had previously worked in a residential home and I absolutely loved it, so I thought, ‘why not go for it?’”
Ellie said she found the job rewarding and enjoyed the companionship side of caring. She explained: “The most rewarding part for me is knowing you have made a big difference to someone’s day and put a smile on their face.”
Encouraging others to join the care sector, Ellie said: “Definitely do it. Unfortunately, some people are put off of care work due to certain aspects of the job, but it’s the most rewarding and positive job I’ve ever had.”