Ask anyone working in aged care and they will tell you that it is the older people they support who give them the most joy. The close bonds that are formed, the stories and jokes they share, the kindness and gratitude expressed for the care and support provided means a great deal.
There are countless examples of people who have made a career in the sector. Many have started as personal care or home support workers, and after studying nursing, have gone on to become enrolled and registered nurses. Some have progressed to higher level clinical or management roles either at the site or in a corporate office.
Others follow a career vocation such as a chef or cook, or as an allied health professional – all assist older people to enjoy the best life possible. There is also a demand for staff in areas such as finance, human resources, administration or information technology roles.
Aged care also offers ‘encore’ careers for people who have enjoyed a full career in another sector. They may have worked in manufacturing, customer service, hospitality or as tradespeople, but have chosen to change careers and give something back to their community. Whatever the career aspiration, there is support and career pathways for people to work and grow in aged care.
There is a misconception that the work is easy. It is far from that. It is often demanding, both physically and emotionally. The reward is knowing that they are making a real and tangible difference to an older person’s life in so many ways.
The sector is currently undergoing generational reform. Although the changes may be welcomed, the rapid rate of change is challenging for staff. The future is positive though, with the sector embracing the changes, understanding the positive outcomes that they will bring for older people.
Working in the not for profit sector provides the added benefit of knowing that any surplus that is made is reinvested back into improving the lives of older people in the future.
As the population ages, there is an increasing need for staff and volunteers in the aged care sector. It offers a fulfilling and varied career across a wide variety of roles. Come and help us make a difference!
Opinion piece by Darren Birbeck, Chief Executive Officer, Resthaven Incorporated