A 77-YEAR-OLD Ballinamallard woman is still going strong in her role as a community carer and says she has no plans to retire any time soon.

Isobel Farrell took up the role with Care Plus at the age of 68 following the passing of her husband in 2011.

Now 77, Isobel is still very happy in the profession. “I’m happy to keep going as long as they’ll keep me,” laughed Isobel, as she spoke to The Impartial Reporter this week.

Throughout her working and personal life, Isobel has provided care for others.

For more than 27 years she worked as a domestic assistant in Fermanagh, firstly in the County Hospital, and later at the Erne Hospital in Enniskillenm before giving up her job to care for her daughter, Edna, who was diagnosed with cancer.

“I cared for her, and then my husband Billy [Farrell] took a brain tumour when my daughter was in hospitalm and then I cared for him for seven years,” explained Isobel.

“I started caring in the community when he passed away in 2011,” she added.


When asked what inspired her to take up the job as a carer when she had already passed retirement age, Isobel said: “I was fed up, to tell you the truth.

“I missed the company of the girls [carers] coming in at night, and during the day here, and I said to one of the girls, ‘You know, I would just love a wee job’.

“I was attending a doctor in Omagh, and he said to me, ‘Why don’t you go out and look for a wee job’, and I said, ‘Do you think anyone would take me on?’,” she revealed.

However, it was a good friend who encouraged her to apply for a job as a carer.

“I used to walk the road, and Isobel Magee came along and said to me: ‘Isobel, what are you walking the roads for? Why don’t you look for a job?’ and I said, ‘But Isobel, who would take me?’

“She said, ‘I’ll have a form for you in the morning’,” and true to her word, her friend dropped by the next day to leave a Care Plus job application form, prompting Isobel to apply.

“I got the interview in Fintona and they asked me when could I start,” said Isobel, who has been working as a carer with the company ever since.

Working in and around the Trillick area, Isobel visits six clients, each three times a day.

“We have the same people every day we go out. I used to do from 7am to 10.30pm/10.45pm at night.

“I did the morning, the lunch, the tea and the night calls, but I gave the night calls up last year, and now I finish up at around 6pm,” said Isobel.

“As the old saying goes ‘I have no ties’,” she added.

Talking about how she gets great enjoyment out of her work and has a good rapport with her clients, Isobel added: “You make a lot of friends. But then a lot of your good friends pass on; a few people that I got very attached to.

“One lady [a client] said to me, ‘Isobel, are you here in the morning?’, I said, ‘I am’, and she said, ‘I mightn’t be here’, and I said, ‘Please God, you will’.

“That poor lady passed away, and the family rang me to see could I go round; it was very kind of them to ring me.

‘Very friendly’

“I was very fond of that wee woman, but the women are all very nice,” she said, adding: “They are all very friendly, I couldn’t say a bad word about any of the clients that I go to, or any of the girls that I work with – they’re all very good.

“We get on well together. They’re all very good, I must truthfully say, and I enjoy it.

“I’m glad that I’m fit to do it,” she told this newspaper.