Few people are fortunate enough to avoid being touched by the impact of dementia on family or friends at some point.
Sharon Moss found herself in exactly that position when her grandfather succumbed to Alzheimer’s.
But in Sharon’s case, it was to project her on to a remarkable career in care.
Her grandfather was Middlesbrough and England footballer George Hardwick and she appeared destined for a career in the world of sport, working at a horse racing stables in Malton.
However, she returned home to Scarborough to work in domiciliary care and was so shocked by her grandfather’s deterioration that she instinctively decided to learn more about the illness.
That decision proved to be a pivotal point in her career and one which demonstrates the options which can unfold for those who follow a career in that field.
Sharon’s professional interest in dementia took her into adult social care and a career with the County Council.
That choice opened up a series of opportunities which led to her managing a home – a leap which would have been difficult to imagine in the early stages of her career.
“I studied, did dementia training courses and became senior team leader in a dementia unit,” she said.
Career developments took her to Benkhill Lodge at Bedale and when the existing manager moved on, Sharon took the plunge and applied for the job.
Despite the role being a big career jump, she got the job and hasn’t looked back.
The position started with a six-month secondment, but four months in her bosses knew they had made the right choice and the job became permanent.
“When you are at school you don’t often think you want to be the manager in a care home,” she said. “It is often the circumstances of events that mean you end up working in care.”
Sharon believes more young people should be made aware of how fulfilling and exciting a career in care can be.
“As soon as I started working in adult social care, I knew it was the career for me,” she said.
“I have a respect for the elderly and want to sit down and talk to them.
“I absolutely love coming to work every day. Even during the pandemic. It feels like a privilege.”
A great thing about a career as a social care professional, according to Sharon, is that doors frequently open to new opportunities in the sector.
Her experience of working for us, she said, is that there is always support and encouragement and training for those who want new challenges and to progress their careers and develop further.