With Global Day of Parents set for June 1st, a Cheshire care home has welcomed reality TV star and medical student Priya Gopaldas to its facilities to explore the role of a carer and to see if the correlation between parenting and caring can help alleviate the symptoms of ‘empty nest syndrome’ – a condition her parents have experienced first hand.
The visit was organised following research that indicates more than 70% of parents feel a sense of loss when their children leave home. With Priya’s own parents able to relate to the feelings of empty nest syndrome, she shadowed carers and interacted with residents to get to grips with the requirements of the role – seeing if a parent’s natural caring instincts would be a good fit for the sector.
With Global Day of Parents a UN recognised day that seeks to celebrate the selfless commitment of parents, Handsale, a care group with homes throughout the UK, invited Priya, who is a fifth year medical student, to Priesty Fields Care Home in Congleton ahead of it.
Priya, who herself has left the nest, wanted to help showcase that those with a natural disposition to care for others could potentially be suited to a role in the care sector to help ‘fill the gap’ at home, as she sat down with residents and staff to better understand the possibilities that come from a career in care.
As part of the experience, Priya spent the day shadowing carer Lucy Sheridan, whose 19-year-old daughter plans to go to university in September. The reality star also accompanied Olivia Cheetham, who plans to fly the nest herself to pursue a nursing degree when she sets off to The University of Manchester in a few months’ time.
Both carers recounted inspiring and rewarding stories they’d experienced since joining the care sector, believing that a sense of ‘belonging’ and ‘purpose’ was achieved when working in care, something that can help fill the gap left by a child leaving home.
Reflecting on her visit, Priya said: “It was so lovely meeting the carers. Accompanying Lucy was so insightful as she found that caring for her kids at home was transferable to her job as a carer, which was so great to see ahead of Global Day of Parents. Since flying the nest, my relationship with my parents has definitely changed. Obviously, being away from home, you don’t get to speak to or see them as much as you’d like, so it’s nice when I do go back home, but I do find that they can be a bit lonely and worry about me quite a lot. I definitely feel it could be beneficial for them to look after or care for someone else to help fill that void.”
She continued: “From what I’ve seen today, I’m certain that natural parental skills do transfer towards a career in care and I think there are those suffering from empty nest syndrome who could benefit immensely. The skills they’ve acquired as parents are so transferable to an environment like Priesty Fields. You’re constantly looking after others and chatting to people which brings several mental health benefits, especially as it’s important to socialise and uplift others to help you feel better in yourself. I definitely think caring is a perfect solution for empty nest syndrome.”
Rishi Sodha, Care Director at Priesty Fields, said: “It was great having Priya along to visit us. Our team of carers really appreciated it, while the residents enjoyed chatting with her too. The fact that Priya can see how empty nest syndrome is affecting her own parents just reinforced what we were looking to convey – that a job in care offers a rewarding opportunity for parents to embrace, should they be missing their previous role looking after their own children. Those that care – care, and parents are natural carers.”
You can watch a video of Priya spending the day in the life of a carer, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHwPbyf3PQ4&t=2s