Career change into elderly care work

Live-in care worker delivering elderly care work

Are you thinking about a career in care? Ever wondered what it would be like and whether you have what it takes?


We recently spoke to Gayle, our new Care Manager in the Glasgow branch of Bright Care, to find out why she chose elderly care work as her new career and what she thinks are the essential traits for someone to possess in order to have a successful career in care.

Our interview with Gayle

What did you do before you came to Bright Care?

“For 20 years I worked for a well-known fashion retail company. I started as a visual merchandiser, eventually becoming a Sales Manager, looking after the whole of Scotland. My role involved a lot of travelling for store openings all over the country, and I had a great time. Sadly, this company closed down during the COVID pandemic and I lost my job. I then moved to food retail for a while as an Operations Manager, but I soon found that this was not the right industry for me, so I returned to fashion.” 

What made you change your career?

“I was no longer happy working the long hours the fashion industry demanded of me, and alongside looking after my mum, this role became too demanding. I decided something had to change, so I made the jump into working into elderly care work. I’m a nurturing person, I like to help people and my friends have always said I’d make a good nurse, so I felt elder care was the right career path for me.”

Gayle, elderly care work manager

What transferable skills do you have from your previous roles and caring for your mum?

“Seeing other people look after my mum was an eye opener. Receiving care made such a difference to her and to me, and that’s how I knew I would get job satisfaction from a career in care. In terms of transferable skills from working in retail, it’s fast paced, you have to think on your feet and react quickly to changes all the time. I also communicated with different people of all ages and this turned out to be such a good tool coming into a care role. I’m dealing with different types of people, some who have difficulties with communication, and I’m able to have the hard conversations with the family when people need end of life care. I think I have good empathy as well, going through the care journey with mum.”

How were these skills complemented with the Bright Care Academy training?

“I first joined Bright Care as a Care Assistant, and the industry was all new to me. The initial Bright Care training helped me to understand everything about elderly care work. This training put me in good stead as a Carer and then later as a Care Manager.”

Why did you choose to become a Care Manager for the elderly? 

“After six months as a Care Assistant, my line manager felt that, with my 20 years of management experience, I should consider becoming a Care Manager. I applied for the role as I wanted to work in care in whatever role was the best fit and could make the biggest difference.”

Why did you choose to work with Bright Care?

“When I was considering a move into the care industry, I used to see Carers arrive to look after my elderly neighbours. These Carers would dash in and dash back out again, I always felt sorry for their clients. When I was researching Bright Care, I liked the fact that their visits are a minimum of two hours, giving you a chance to get to know your clients and build a relationship. I also liked the Bright Care company values, they suit me as a person and how I go about my life.”

What do you find rewarding about your role?

“What’s most rewarding is seeing the difference we make to families with the help and care we offer. Sadly, I had my first client funeral recently, the family thanked the Bright Care team and even mentioned us in the eulogy. This felt so personal and makes it all worthwhile.”

What do you consider to be challenging about your role?

“The challenges are when we can’t help people. At the moment we don’t have enough Carers to help everyone, we need to recruit more great Care Assistants for our clients who are on a waiting list. .” 

Have you got any advice to those considering a career change into the care industry?

“Make sure you’re honest with yourself about whether you are the right type of person to work in care, because there are some difficult situations you will have to deal with. Do your research before applying, as working with older people can be quite emotional and they are going to depend on you for support and to make a difference in their lives.”

What traits or characteristics do you think are needed to work in care?

“Empathy is number one, being non-judgmental, respectful and a good communicator. It also helps to be a calm person, as some situations can be magnified, and you will need to remain calm and be logical and able to reassure your clients.”

What makes Bright Care different?

“For me it’s the quality of the visits that we deliver, as we focus on building relationships and matching clients carefully. We are also able to receive feedback from the clients on their match, and if it’s not working, we can change things. I feel at Bright Care we always have each other’s backs, if we make mistakes, we fix them together and support each other. As a new Care Manager, I have found that staff from other branches have connected with me to welcome me to the team and offer their help. At the recent team away day, I was able to meet all of the office team in person and put faces to names. That really helped me, as now I feel more comfortable being able to contact them when I need support.”

Hourly care, Bright Carer helping her client to exercise
Companionship care
Client and Bright Carer preparing a meal together

Why choose Bright Care

If you need elderly care for yourself or a loved one, Bright Care can support you. We offer tailored in-home care services. Our companionship style care focuses on building a relationship and establishing trust, to provide peace of mind for families who cannot always be there to care for their loved ones.

Our Bright Carers can offer support with:

  • Consistent companionship (reading the newspaper, playing games, taking exercise)
  • Support with outings (grocery food shopping, hospital appointments, walks)
  • Help around the house (laundry, vacuuming, dusting)
  • Home-based activities (cooking, baking, gardening)
  • Support at social events (family gatherings, clubs, religious services)
  • Personal hygiene (assistance with washing and getting dressed)
  • Health and well-being (support with medications and exercise)
  • Personal administration (help with forms, letters, paying bills)

Get in touch

We are currently recruiting exceptional Care Assistants. We offer a competitive salary and good benefits. If you would like to join our elderly care work team, providing tailored in-home care and companionship, please apply now.

If you would like to know more about the companionship care we offer to those in their later years, our team can talk you through our services, please get in touch.

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