A PLUCKY care home worker has vowed to keep working for as long as she is fit and healthy – even though she is now older than some of the residents she helps to look after.

Domestic assistant Sylvia Woods has worked at Down Hall residential care home in Bradwell for the past 26 years.

And at the age of 83, she says she still has no plans to retire.

Sylvia joined the team at Down Hall in 1995, after her husband died, and describes her first role as ‘tea lady’.

Quickly progressing to care assistant, Sylvia worked as a full-time care worker for 20 years, until she reduced her hours to part-time and swapped care-giving for domestic duties at the age of 77.

Chelmsford Weekly News: Sylvia with resident Marion Watson, aged 101. Photo - Gregg BrownSylvia with resident Marion Watson, aged 101. Photo - Gregg Brown

“My age has never stopped me,” said Sylvia.

“I enjoy my job, I work with a great bunch of people, and I love spending time chatting to the residents.

“It gets me out of the house and gives me a purpose, otherwise life can become isolating as you get older.

“It’s true that I’m older than some of our residents, but as long as I’m fit and active, I shall keep working.”

Manager Karen Johnson said everyone loves Sylvia for being reliable, hard-working, and incredibly compassionate towards the residents.

Karen said: “I don’t think the residents actually realise how old Sylvia is, as she’s very active and doesn’t look her age.

“Because Sylvia worked as a carer, she has a good understanding of our care team’s responsibilities.

“Nothing is ever too much trouble for her, and she always goes over and above the requirements of her job.”

Chelmsford Weekly News: Sylvia Woods, 83-year-old domestic at Down Hall. Photo - Gregg BrownSylvia Woods, 83-year-old domestic at Down Hall. Photo - Gregg Brown

Because of her age, Down Hall bosses encouraged Sylvia to shield during the first lockdown, but she was eager to return to work.

“Throughout the pandemic Sylvia has wanted to carry on working and support her colleagues,” Karen added.

“Because of Covid, the role and responsibilities of our domestic staff have been more vital than ever in helping to control the spread of the virus and maintain a safe environment for our residents.

“We are lucky to have a few members of staff who have worked at Down Hall for many years and who bring a wealth of experience to the team.

“Senior carer Sophie Cole has worked at Down Hall for almost 20 years, and domestic assistant Janet Tremlett has been with us for 32 years.

“To have members of the team that continue to show such dedication and enthusiasm for their roles after decades of service is heartwarming.”