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“When I feel that I have helped clients or made them comfortable and happy, it’s a lovely reward for all the hard work. It makes coming to work a joy every day and I feel very grateful to be able to do this as my career.”

Would you like a job where you make a difference? Why not consider a job in home care, helping people in your community who need a bit of support to stay independent in their home.

Home care involves supporting people with things like:

  • getting out of bed in the morning
  • washing and dressing
  • brushing hair
  • using the toilet
  • preparing meals and drinks
  • taking medicine
  • doing the shopping
  • collecting prescriptions or pension
  • getting out, for example to a lunch club
  • cleaning
  • washing up
  • laundry
  • getting settled in the evening and ready for bed.

You don’t need any qualifications to work in home care, just a compassionate and caring nature and the ability to think on your feet.

What's it like to work in home care in Portsmouth?

Three people working in home care describe their experiences:

  • Harvey, 25 (Senior care worker, Crescent Community Care)
  • Carole, 47 (Community carer, Nightingales Golden Care)
  • Ross, 43 (Support worker, Mencap in Portsmouth)

A typical day’s work

“A typical day for me is assisting clients with day-to-day tasks while promoting their own independence as much as possible. This can include personal care, preparing food and drink, and assisting with medication. I sometimes take clients out for walks.” (Harvey)

“Morning calls can be personal care: showering, or just helping that person get up and be there while they do their thing. We do their lunch, cooking, shopping and light domestic duties, and even take them out and about, or if housebound, sit and chat or do activities.” (Carole)

“No day is the same. I try to help adults to live a normal life – maintaining their homes, helping with financial matters, emotional support and help to get connected to the community.” (Ross)

Favourite aspects of the job

“I like that the job isn’t the same every day. Sometimes it’s more personal care duties whereas sometimes it’s just ensuring they aren’t lonely and have me to talk to.

I feel immense gratitude that I get to work in a job that I love. When I feel that I have helped clients or made them comfortable and happy, it’s a lovely reward for all the hard work. It makes coming to work a joy every day and I feel very grateful to be able to do this as my career. I can’t wait to progress further and work my way up as high as I can.” (Harvey)

“I don’t like to let people down and most of the time they are happy to see you, they look forward to your visit. Sometimes you could be the only person they see that whole day.

During lockdown family members were so grateful we continued, as they weren’t allowed to visit and it was business as usual for us.” (Carole)

“You feel like you have made a difference to someone’s day. It’s a good feeling to know you are genuinely helping someone with their life.” (Ross)

Memorable moments

“One situation that really brought home the value of what I do is when one of my more regular clients passed away. I had been visiting him daily for a year – that’s a long time to get to know someone. When he passed away, even though I felt sad, I was proud to have been able to assist him and help him be more comfortable. His family’s gratitude towards me was very humbling and reminded me that, although I am sad about his passing, it’s all made worth it when I know I have helped this family and made their life a little easier.” (Harvey)

Most important traits for working in home care

“I think in this job you have to mostly be a kind and compassionate person. The job isn’t always easy or for the faint-hearted. It’s hard getting attached to clients who then leave the world, so you need to be strong. You also have to be practical, organised, respectful and independent.” (Harvey)

“As a carer you need to be organised: it’s important to keep people’s homes ticking over with shopping stocked up, toiletries, medication etc., keeping the place clean and safe. And you must always listen to the person and find out what they want – never try to take over, keep them as independent as possible (within reason).” (Carole)

“The abilities to listen, to prioritise what is important to do first, and to be able to quickly adapt, as things change constantly.” (Ross)

Long-term plans

I would love to stay working in social care. I feel like I have found my passion and long-term career path. In the future I would like to progress in other avenues within the company and work my way up as high as I can.” (Harvey)

“I’ve already had a long career in social care with more than 20 years as a carer, so I would say I’m in it for the long haul!” (Carole)

Where could a job in home care lead?

Marie started out in home care at just 16, and now has a senior position in social care. She shares her experiences.

I started as a care worker aged 16 when I left school with little education (I was in a children’s home from the age of 11).

My social worker got me my first job, in a nursing home. I remember feeling scared as I had never worked with people who had dementia and didn’t know what to expect. I thought residents might not be able to hold conversations and it would just be washing, dressing and taking to the toilet. This was (and is) definitely a big part of working as a care worker, but what no one told me was the joy I would feel in making a difference to the life of someone with dementia. One resident spoke to me about her dogs – the care home manager told me she had never spoken about them before, and they added the information to her care plan – I was honoured and happy that she had felt content enough to talk to me.

I will always remember the fun and laughter of that first job – it ignited my passion to work in care. I went on from there to work for Hampshire County Council as a home carer. I had a list of clients and went to their homes to provide personal care, shopping and support. I met some lovely clients – not all were elderly with dementia, several were under 65 with a physical disability. Several clients will always stick in my mind:

One lady who had Multiple Sclerosis was unable to bathe her two-year-old child as she had lost the core strength to lift them out of the bath. I remember feeling how blessed I was to be able-bodied, to do things for myself and my own children, and that I had made a real difference to this client by supporting her to look after her child.

Another was an 89-year-old-lady who I was supporting to wash and dress each day following a hospital admission after a fall. She struggled to put on her nightdress herself, so I cut her nightdresses down the front and put Velcro on them, which gave her the independence to do this for herself. She told me she had never had a daughter, but that if she had she would have liked her to be like me – I remember feeling emotional at her kind words and it continued to fire my passion to make a difference to the people I supported.

In over 40 years of working in social care, I have never lost that desire to make a difference and treat people how I would want to be treated.

Home care is vital to our city – we need to do all we can to support people to stay in their own homes. I am proud of having been a carer – I know I absolutely made a difference to many lives, by delivering hands-on care and being the friendly face that turned up each day. 

Working as a carer for 15 years has also given me a life-long career in care. I went from home care to a job at the council as a care manager, then trained as a social worker, then became a senior manager. My years as a care worker continue to influence the decision I make now as head of service for the council care homes and provider services. It gave me a unique insight into what care workers need to do when visiting a client in the community or working in a care home.

Being a care worker was the happiest I have been in my career. I am proud to remember the difference I made to people’s lives and continue to want that for clients my staff support today. I see on a daily basis the joy that care staff bring to clients’ lives, from simple tasks such as personal care, to being a friendly face and providing emotional support and human contact to someone who may be scared or lonely.

Anyone can be taught the practical skills needed to care, but what you can’t teach is the personal qualities required. You need to be able to give an adult with dementia, or a young person with a physical disability, the same care you would give or want someone to give to your own mother or sister or child. You need to crave the feeling of doing the best you possibly can for the person you are supporting. The rewards are amazing, that feeling of self-worth and contentment knowing you have made a real difference to someone’s life.

Becoming a professional carer is a great career and if you do want to do another role in social care or health it’s a great springboard.

As a senior manager, when I interview applicants for a role it’s always obvious when someone started out in a caring role – they have a strong values base and personal qualities of integrity, compassion and kindness.

Care providers in Portsmouth

We work with lots of different care providers in Portsmouth. You can view available roles on their website by clicking on the names of the care providers listed. You can also apply for a role in home care by filling in your details in our online form, and we will then share them with providers for you.