As we are all aware, staff that work in the caring community are performing some of the most dependent jobs in our society, from nurses and carers to kitchen staff, wellbeing/lifestyles, maintenance and housekeepers. We have interviewed more of our Oaklands staff to see what working in the care sector means to them, and why they are Glad To Care. Alongside, some of our residents have told us what their life at Oaklands is like and what care means to them.
Family man Kent Matthews, married for 31 years with two grown-up children, previously worked as an external valet washing trucks for MOT preparation. After facing redundancy, Kent sought a career change to work indoors. Joining Oaklands 13 years ago in Housekeeping, he later transitioned to a Kitchen Assistant role for increased hours. . We asked Kent what he liked about his job, he told us “I like the nice atmosphere and sharing humour with residents and other members of staff. I like being part of a team that provides an important service to our Oaklands family”
And what does it take to make a good Kitchen Assistant, Kent? “You need to get on with other staff, work well as part of a team, and use your own initiative to ensure all tasks are completed. It’s always very busy, with strict time schedules for meal preparation. Ensuring timely service and maintaining cleanliness are crucial.’ And what do you like to do in your spare time? ‘I’m an avid Saints supporter and enjoy heading to the pub for a pint to watch them play. Additionally, when I have time I’m a keen DIY enthusiast.”
Resident Betty has called Oaklands home since July 2023. When asked about her experience, Betty shared, “I enjoy participating in activities, trying things I’ve never done before. The entertainment is great; I love getting up for a good dance.” When questioned about her accommodation and food, Betty expressed, “My room is homely, with everything I need. The meals are enjoyable, and there’s always something I like.” Betty added, “I appreciate the staff; they are kind and pleasant people to spend time with.”
Slovakian-born Martina Kerestanova came to the UK for a summer holiday 16 years ago and ended up staying due to her fondness for the country. Married for 10 years, Martina met her husband while both working at Heathrow. Interestingly, they hailed from the same village and attended the same school in Slovakia but never crossed paths there. In 2021, Martina, having moved out of London to raise her family, joined Oaklands as a night Health Care Assistant.
When asked about her career change to becoming Oaklands’ Receptionist and what she enjoys about her job, Martina shared, “My love for meeting new people prompted this change, allowing me to maintain a connection with our residents and their families. I find joy in welcoming visitors and guiding families in the right direction.” Regarding what makes a good Receptionist, Martina emphasised, “To always greet people with a warm smile, even when answering the telephone! Being sociable and hospitable, handling required administration and information location, and lending a supportive ear to anyone in need are essential qualities.” And how do you spend your free time, Martina? “I enjoy socialising and meeting with friends, traveling, listening to music, relaxing with a glass of wine, and looking after my family.'”
One of our younger team members, Tuhin Rahim, started his bio-chemistry studies in Bangladesh before relocating to the UK. Tuhin spent six months working in a coffee shop before realising his passion for a career in care. He shared, “I looked after my grandmother in Bangladesh after her heart surgery and found it a very rewarding experience.” Tuhin has been a part of Oaklands since 2022.
When asked about his work, Tuhin expressed, “I like the people I take care of; they all have their own stories, and I love listening to them, knowing I have become a part of their lives. I also enjoy learning; although I am fairly early in my career, there is so much to learn, and other staff and residents are helping me with this. Education is very important to me.” And what makes a good carer, Tuhin? “To provide good care, to respect residents’ wishes, and to show compassion and affection.’ And what do you like to do when you’re not working? ‘I enjoy learning new things, watching movies, and going for walks”
Resident Barbara joined Oaklands in July 2023, and when asked about her experience, she shared, “I like joining in with all the things going on. My favourite is all the singing. I join in whether it’s just us having a singsong or if it’s someone that’s come in specially to sing to us. There’s always such a happy atmosphere, and the girls who do the activities are worth their weight in gold. They took me out on a trip to Eastleigh, and we had such a lovely time; I can’t wait to go again.”
When questioned about her accommodation and meals, Barbara expressed, “My room is comfortable, although I don’t spend much time there. The food is good, and I have a choice. It’s nice to have it cooked for me every day and not to have to do the washing up!”
Team Leader, Pat Cousins is one of Oaklands’ longest-serving carers, with an impressive 25 years of dedicated service. When asked about her extensive career in the care industry, Pat revealed that she has been working in this sector for an astounding 49 years!
Curious about her passion for caring, we inquired why she enjoys it so much. Pat shared, “It’s in my nature; I like to know people are being properly looked after. I enjoy learning people’s histories and hearing all about their lives.”
When discussing what makes a good Healthcare Team Leader, Pat emphasised the importance of guiding staff to ensure residents are always well looked after and kept safe. She added, “To show dignity and respect at all times, but above all, you really need to care about people and treat them as you would want to be treated yourself.” As for her favourite pastime, Pat mentioned, “I like to keep fit, but most of all, I love spending time with my family.”
All our staff do a wonderful job, and each one is a vital and valued part of our team at Oaklands House Care Centre.