'When I combed her hair she was never satisfied with where I put her hair clips and they had to be moved millimetres up and down.'

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'When I combed her hair she was never satisfied with where I put her hair clips and they had to be moved millimetres up and down.'


Rosemary remembers working for a Care agency working with older people in different locations around England.


Rosemary McCloskey


Trinity College Dublin




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Rosemary McCloskey

Is Part Of

Work and Employment


Life Story

Spatial Coverage

Herefordshire, England

Temporal Coverage


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My next job was care work I applied to a few care agencies for live-in care work and spent almost a year doing that. I worked for the Care Agency in Lutterworth and a couple of other agencies whose names I cannot presently recall. I looked after some wonderful people whose families were very helpful and supportive and of course there were one or two miserable old ladies for whom like was simply an endurance and a burden. I hope I helped to make their lives that bit better but sometimes it was hard to keep my patience but thanks be to God I managed. I saw parts of England I probably would never have seen otherwise. I was in Kington in Herefordshire near the Welsh border with a very depressed old lady who believed she could not swallow anything except faggots. She must have been the saddest person I have ever met. When I combed her hair she was never satisfied with where I put her hair clips and they had to be moved millimetres up and down. Her curtains were likewise closed and opened until she eventually agreed to them staying as they were. It was almost impossible to cook for her, for like the three bears the porridge was either too hot or too cold or too thick or too thin! She was exasperating and again no time off. I was in another old dilapidated manor house outside Newark near Nottingham where the old lady who told me in her more lucid moments that she was related to Angus Ogilvy, she had dementia. She was a dear lady, but her son was a royal pain and upset routines when he came, which was not very often. The first night I slept there, there was very heavy rain and the plaster ceiling in my bed room fell down, miraculously missing me. When the old lady's son arrived to inspect the damage, his only concern was the old chest of drawers which he said was very valuable. He then decided that he would leave out only one set of silver cutlery for his mother, in case I might be tempted to steal the rest of the silver. I had no free time at all in this house as her ladyship required constant watching due to her dementia. I could not even go out to shop because I was loathe to take her in the car in case she opened the door while I was driving and she could not be left alone. I was twice in Oundle, a lovely little village near Peterborough, where the old lady of ninety four still had ginger hair, elevated notions of grandeur and a huge garden. Part of my duties was to feed the birds and the dog. She was the only one I had to request the agency to send someone else to, as I could not put up with her the second time I went there. I spent two weeks the first time and offered to go back, but found that, like all the others who preceded me, she was irrationally demanding after a while. She was well known in the village and when a carer said she was sent to buy something for Mrs Joyce, she always got sympathetic looks. She was intolerably demanding. I looked after an elderly gentleman who was in the first stages of dementia in Coventry. He had been a factory owner and lived in a gorgeous mansion outside the city on the Kenilworth Road, with its own grounds and swimming pool. His family were very appreciative and good to me and I was happy there. I did a couple of stints in that house. I looked after a lady in a manor house near Pershore a few times. The house and grounds were fabulous and she was no trouble at all. I spent three weeks over Christmas with her before I took on my final job with Irish Centre Housing. In the morning I had to bring her tea at 8.00am and then go and feed the hens. She would appear for breakfast later on and always had half an avocado. I would go to the church hall ad collect the Daily Telegraph which she read every morning after breakfast in the sun parlour. She loved the sun and would sit here for most of the day. She also loved horses and had won lots of prizes for show jumping and dressage. Her family were involved with horses as well. She loved style and had her hair done every Thursday in Pershore. It was often easier to return to houses where I knew the client and the place and it was better for the client to have continuity of care with the same person instead of having to get to know a stranger each time. Phil Byrd was a dear lady and I would not have minded staying there for longer but when the job in St Eugene Court came up it was more suitable and not as lonely or demanding as the live-in care.


Irish Research Council for Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (IRCHSS)

Research Coordinator/P.I.

Dr Kathleen McTiernan (Trinity College Dublin)

Senior Research Associate

Dr Deirdre O'Donnell (Trinity College Dublin)


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