Giving thanks for our aged care heroes
More than 360,000 aged care staff support 1.3 million older Australians receiving home care or residential care services. This includes nurses and care workers, allied health professionals, hospitality and support service teams, administration staff and volunteers.
On Aged Care Employee Day on August 7, Carinity recognises our dedicated employees who care for Queensland seniors living in our 12 residential aged care communities and those supported through in-home care services.
Kathy Nicholls, Deni Cocciolone, Amanda Marshall and Jack Teepa are four of around 1,200 dedicated Carinity employees who work to support Queensland seniors.
Kathy has worked in the aged care industry for 24 years. A former manager at two Carinity aged care communities, as a regional manager she now oversees the operation of five Carinity aged care communities throughout Queensland.
“My mum worked in aged care when I was growing up and I always loved watching the connections she had with the residents. I pretty much grew up in my mum’s aged care home and would go there before and after school, spending time talking to the residents. I loved it,” Kathy said.
“As soon as I was old enough, I was given work in the kitchen and as a carer on the weekends. After completing my nursing studies, I went straight back into aged care.”
Kathy loves “forming relationships with our residents and learning their stories”.
“It is also rewarding to have the opportunity to mentor younger staff and see that despite the obstacles that continually are thrown at aged care as an industry, we are fortunate to have passionate staff working in our organisation,” she said.
Deni tailors and runs activities that provide “meaningful engagement” for residents of the Carinity Fairfield Grange aged care community in Townsville.
“We hope to fulfil residents’ days with enriching activities that resonate with their likes and hobbies, help achieve their goals or even try something new,” Deni said.
“I enjoy the reaction from residents during activities, when their faces light up followed by expressions of how nice a time they had. It brings feelings of great satisfaction and accomplishment knowing that we helped make their day.
“My job, along with aged care in general, can be quite challenging at times. However, above all else, it is rewarding.”
Carinity Home Care Sunshine Coast Lifestyle Coordinator, Amanda Marshall, gave up her banking career to support seniors who wish to remain living in their own home.
“Working in the financial sector as a bank teller, the branch that I worked in was populated with a high number of seniors. I found they were the ones who needed more support with their banking needs,” Amanda said.
“In banking there were always changes which were difficult for the seniors to understand, so they needed support. It is the same with aged care. Seniors don’t want you to take their independence away, but they want support to help them live their best life.
“I believe in treating our clients as if they are my family. I care for them just as I would want someone to care for my mother or my elderly Grandmother.”
For Jack Teepa the best thing about his role as chaplain at the Carinity Colthup Manor aged care community in Ipswich is “is contributing to making it a happy and safe place.”
“Aged care chaplaincy is particularly important because older people need to be heard, listened to, acknowledged, respected and valued. They need reassurance that they are still loved and appreciated,” he said.
Carinity CEO Jon Campbell expressed his gratitude for Carinity’s aged care and home care employees who collectively care for more than 3,000 Queenslanders each year.
“Every day, our staff working in our 12 aged care communities from Townsville to the Gold Coast, and those who support older Queenslanders in their home, display selfless determination to care for our most vulnerable,” Jon says.
“On Aged Care Employee Day, we take time to reflect on the compassionate care they give to our valued seniors every minute of every hour of every day.”