Stevenage home care worker on why she’s happy to work over Christmas

Herts home care worker Dee Casey paid a Christmas visit to resident Joyce Bishop. Picture: Herts Cou

Herts home care worker Dee Casey paid a Christmas visit to resident Joyce Bishop. Picture: Herts County Council - Credit: Archant

While you sat down for your Christmas lunch, unwrapped a pile of presents or sat watching a film with the family, Hertfordshire home care staff were out on their rounds supporting those in need.

The county has more than 10,000 home care practitioners and for many it was business as usual for the festive period, continuing to support thousands of Hertfordshire’s elderly, vulnerable and disabled residents in their own homes.

One of those practitioners is Dee Casey from Stevenage. Dee works for Alina Homecare – one of Herts’ main home care providers – and she spent the season of goodwill spreading the Christmas cheer to those in her care.

“Many of the people I care for will only see me at Christmas and it makes me feel sad, it’s bad all year-round but it is worse at Christmas,” she said.

“Some of the people I meet are really vulnerable, they depend on me, so I always do what I can to be jolly.

“On Christmas Day I always take two crackers to each of my calls, so that we can feel a bit festive. If I’m the only visitor they might get, I want them to enjoy the time I spend with them.

“When it snowed three weeks ago I wasn’t due to be on shift, but I went into work because I wanted to help.

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“I had to park my car at a local school and get out and do my calls on foot. When I turned up, people were really pleased to see me and glad that I had been able to make it.

“I like feeling useful and knowing that I am helping them to have a better quality of life.”

Home care practitioners provide more than three million hours of care and support a year, with thousands of visits carried out this Christmas.

This meant that staff gave up time with their own families to care for those in need.

Councillor Colette Wyatt-Lowe – cabinet member for adult social care at Hertfordshire County Council – expressed her gratitude to those who gave up their own Christmas, while encouraging us all to help those most vulnerable all year round.

“We are so grateful for the dedication of our army of care practitioners, who give up the comforts of home, to care for others over festive period,” she said.

“They are providing a vital service. Not only are they making sure older people will see a friendly face and receive care on their daily visit; they are also helping alleviate pressures on the NHS and emergency services, already so stretched at this time of year, by helping to keep older people safe and well in their own homes and out of hospital.

“Even though it is heartening to know that people who need help and support will receive a home care visit, many other older and vulnerable people can feel particularly lonely at this festive time of year, and that’s something we can all play a part in reducing.

“So why not pop in and say hello to your neighbours, invite them in for a cuppa, or find out if there are any jobs or tasks that you could help out with.

“One small gesture could make a real difference to somebody.”

Herts County Council’s ongoing Good Care campaign, launched in 2015, aims to highlight the excellent care being provided, highlighting the opportunities and benefits available to those looking for a rewarding career in the sector.

The care sector in Herts needs to recruit more than 2,000 paid care practitioners each year to keep up with demand placed on our social care system.

To find out more about the opportunities available in care go to