PERSONAL CARER, SUNSET LODGE, TARALGA
I’m 22 years old and work as a personal carer at Sunset Lodge which is home to 23 residents. It's a small but beautiful place to work. There is such a strong sense of family at Sunset Lodge, I look after the same people every day and learn so much about those people. I have grown some beautiful friendships.
I've worked in aged care for two years this is the first and only aged care job I have had. I was looking to get into community care and was lucky that Crookwell/Taralga Aged Care have two residential facilities and also offer community care. I went for an interview and there was an opportunity for a job at Sunset and I decided to take it.
My role is to care for residents and assist and encourage them to complete daily activities independently. I help with showering and personal hygiene, toileting, eating and also with activities. For those residents who love getting all done up I also blow dry their hair and go shopping for them - and I have a few regulars who love getting their nails done!
I know my residents are extremely grateful to have a place where they can still keep their dignity and independence for as long as possible, and I think it’s great. One lady in particular always tells me she's glad she is old now and not 100 years ago because she doesn't think she would have made it past 90 back then.
There's so much I love about my job. I get to help people every single day. Many people ask me or say ‘I don't know how you do that job’ or ‘I don't know how you wipe bums’ but I just can't even begin to tell them how amazing our job is.
I'm not just a glorified bum wiper. I'm a shoulder to cry on when you can't remember, or when you forget how to speak. I'm the one who will listen to your stories and jokes - even if you've already told me the same one five times today. I'll still laugh! I'll be the one to make you feel beautiful and give you your dignity when you can't do your hair, or you think that red lip liner goes in your eyebrows. I'll be there when you haven't had visitors in weeks. I'm the one that hears the stories of when you were young, and even when you will forget them I'll always remember. I'll be the one who sits and holds your hand and makes sure you’re comfortable before saying goodbye.
My job is so much more than helping people. Being able to help someone in the scariest stage of their life, when they are the most vulnerable, is so, so special.
I'm very passionate about things I put my mind to. I believe I'm very kind and patient and I'm often told I’m ‘too soft’ for my line of work. I appreciate everyone around me more, because when you're young you never think about a life that will one day be without everyone you love.
I have the best parents. I am everything I am because of them and have learnt everything from them. Without the guidance from my family I wouldn’t be half the person I am today. We are very close, and I appreciate EVERYTHING I have.
To care for someone every single day and then sometimes have to watch them decline is hard. But in this job, I've learnt to look at loss in a comforting way. Someone once told me to think of it as the person going home to everyone they have loved and lost, and I just help them walk to the door happy and ready to be reunited.
To work in aged care, you need a big heart. If you have a big heart, and love to help people, the aged care industry needs more people like you. You need to be kind and patient, and it’s always good to have a great sense of humour. Come and make a difference, you'll never regret it.