I am Tracy and I work as a carer for older people with Bluebird Care in Tipperary. I got my qualifications to become a carer with my mother; we both did the course in Limerick Senior College together. Little did I know when I was doing the course how rewarding the actual work would be. I also learned to play guitar in Limerick a couple of years before that as I studied languages in UL for four years.
Well, with my skills altogether to date, I am happy to say that I wrote a song as a thank you to each and every person that I have had the privilege of looking after. They each have enriched me I have grown in confidence and courage in my work. They are true gems of our society and we should continue to care for them to the best of our ability.
They lived through so much more than I and some of the perks of the job is that they chat to me about old remedies and recipes, they share brown bread recipes and one for example that is in season now, is an elderflower cordial recipe. One woman made unreal apple jelly and I am so lucky to have met all of these people. They pass on the different tips and techniques in arts and crafts and they highlight the therapeutic benefits of traditional crafts and gardening, and they talk frequently of whats going on in the garden and seasonal ideas. At the moment I am knitting a cable-knit sweater, I was given the pattern and encouraged by one of the nuns in the convent where I provide care. And I like the way she asks me every week how I'm getting on and I can ask her questions about the pattern. She says I look like I'm going to take off when I'm knitting.
I really have connected with so many of my interests again since the people I work and care for encourage me and chat about their experiences. In my free time I'm back gardening again, growing tomatoes and spuds and I'm painting - scenery pictures, and I'm doing a bit of stone carving and of course my knitting. I even brought my guitar to the home of one of the ladies I care for and I played Garth Brooks for her. She knew the song and she really enjoyed me singing. But when she asked for Daniel O' Donnell I had to put it away!
The management at Bluebird Care are happy to see - alongside the high standards of care provided and strict adherence to the care plans - also a nurturing relationship between staff and client and as a Bluebird staff member I feel that I myself am healing, growing and blossoming as a person, little by little. I am confident that the work I do is good for the client, I have support of talking about any concerns that arise with Bluebird Care management, but over the time you get to know the client and you kind of make friends with them.
One of my client's used to say: “Be like water, no matter how tiny the trickle it will eventually get somewhere”.
“Happiness and a loving fulfilled life is not the destination it is the journey”- Glen Hansard, The Frames.
Heres a song of thanks I wrote for everyone of the people I've met through my work as a carer. Go raibh maith agaibh go léir.
We Get So Much Back – written and performed by Tracy Culleton (June2015 for i-Care campaign)