A call to care for seniors
Aged care requires a mosaic of people to run smoothly. From registered nurses to kitchen hands, diversional therapists to maintenance workers, there’s a distinct, common thread that connects our aged care staff – a strong desire to give back and recognition of the value older generations offer.
Sometimes, the desire to give back leads to a career shift. Olivier Massart’s career has seen him work as a professional chef, business-owner and Operations Manager for a large global catering and facility management company.
Today, he is Carinity’s Regional Operations Manager, responsible for non-clinical operations, dining and hospitality services for Carinity’s aged care communities.
For Olivier, just having a glimpse into aged care in his previous role was enough to spark the desire to give back.
“Aged care was my favourite sector in my previous role. I liked the interactions with the residents. I enjoyed listening to their stories and accommodating their needs.”
Improving the day-to-day lives of residents is one of Olivier’s goals. “I like to listen to people’s opinions and feedback. I try to make positive changes within our operations and add value to our residents’ daily lives.”
For many of our staff, the connection to older generations through parents or grandparents sparked their interest in caring.
Carinity Karinya Place Roster Clerk, Elena Oli, finds the link to older generations helps her feel connected to her parents back home in the Philippines.
“I’m a family-oriented person. Caring for our residents is like caring for my own parents. I treat everyone as I would my parents, and it’s like being connected back home.”
Elena takes pride in ensuring residents receive the quality care they deserve, even personally filling in as a cleaner and in the kitchen when unexpected circumstances meant staff were required in these areas. Going above and beyond is second nature for Elena, who also loves singing with the residents.
A beloved grandfather was responsible for Shandell Bozanic’s career in aged care. Shandell says what she calls a ‘deep passion’ for aged care was sparked by visiting her dying grandfather in hospice care. “I remember that was the moment that I decided I wanted to be the one to look after him.”
At 16, Shandell began volunteering in an aged care community. Now as Acting Residential Manager she is responsible for delivering high-quality care to residents of Carinity Kepnock Grove in Bundaberg.
“I love listening to all their stories, meeting their families and just being there for them during this stage in their lives,” she says.
“I know that advocating and caring for our beautiful residents and their families is something I will always strive to do. Supporting and mentoring others in the clinical team to improve the care that residents receive is such an honour, and something I have worked so hard for.”
Fond memories of her grandmother also led Donna Hinchliffe, Diversional Therapist at Carinity Shalom in Rockhampton, to a career in aged care. “Nan was a hero of mine,” she says.
Donna’s passion for aged care is evident. “The best thing about working in aged care is what you get back: generosity of lifelong experiences from residents, their wisdom, the stories of their lives, their patience and willingness to accept the road ahead.”
Similarly, Jenni Smith, Head Cook at Karinya Place in Laidley was drawn to work with older generations through family connections. Strong relationships with her great-grandmother, grandparents, aunts and uncles fuelled her motivation.
“I cared for (my grandparents) in their later years. I realised I wanted to be in a place that cared for older people.”
“I have always enjoyed the company of seniors. I couldn’t think of a better group of people to spend my day with,” she says.
And as for what keeps our team coming back each day, the answer is clear. It’s genuine care and compassion for residents and their families and the team they work with.
“Aged care is such a fulfilling and rewarding profession. No day is the same, but every day is wonderful,” says Shandell.
Donna agrees. “By listening and learning from this generation we get back more than we can ever give and become better human beings for the experience.”
This genuine desire to connect with older Australians is shared by Regional Residential Manager, Larissa Gear, who has worked in many hands-on caring roles with Carinity.
“I have had the privilege to be some part of our residents’ lives. They have had so many life experiences and continue to offer so much. They and their loved ones put their trust in us – I don’t take this for granted.”
If you’re interested in a caring career with Carinity, visit our Join Our Team website to find out more.
Read more stories from Belong: Spring 2022 | Edition 27