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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Passionate aged care student sets up Instagram page to share profession’s value

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Anyone who reads Aged Care News knows how vital aged care work is, but one young, passionate aged care student is recounting her experiences through social media to share the value of the profession to the broader public.

Twenty-four-year-old Jess [surname withheld] from Adelaide created the Instagram page @theagedcareworker to share her journey, network with other care workers and inspire others to join the industry.

“I want people to see what it’s like working in aged care, how rewarding and amazing the job is,” she tells Aged Care News.

“If I could hopefully inspire someone to become an aged care worker, or maybe teach them a thing or two, I would be ecstatic.”

Active since late May, the Instagram account already has more than 100 followers.

Jess has thus far shared some information about herself, as well as training resources for fellow workers, with links to online training as well as book recommendations.

For Jess, entry to the industry was a natural progression, having been inspired from a young age by the positive difference the care industry makes in people’s lives.

“When I was three, Pa was in a residential facility and my Nanna and Mum would often take me to visit him.

“I have fond memories of spending time in a residential facility singing to my Pa while sitting on his bed.”

Throughout her 20s, Jess has taken an active role as a carer for her Nanna, taking her shopping, helping her make a variety of appointments, whilst cherishing the chance to catch up and unwind together over coffee and cake.

“My passion for the elderly has always been around, but because of my Nanna, it led me to volunteering at a local residential facility, which inspired me to look into becoming a carer.

I want to people to see what it’s like working in aged care, how rewarding and amazing the job is. If I could hopefully inspire someone to become an aged care worker, or maybe teach them a thing or two, I would be ecstatic.

Aged care student, Jess

“So, then I decided I needed to study to become a carer and I’ve not looked back!”

Thoroughly enjoying her work experience as she completes a Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing), Jess says she learns something new each day and appreciates being welcomed and supported by experienced workers at her facility.

“I enjoy every bit of it — from making beds, to assisting with showers, and having a chat with the residents.

“The challenging aspects of the job would be that it can be a bit daunting at times — which is fine.

“It’s made easier because there are always staff around to ask questions and for help if I need it.

“So it’s nice having that reassurance, knowing that if you get stuck or come across something that you are unsure of, there is always help from fellow staff members and nurses when you need it.

“One thing to keep in mind and hold onto is that there is no such thing as a silly question.

“You learn every day whether you are a new worker or been there for five, 10 or 20 years.”

What keeps me determined to keep going isn’t just the friendships I’ve made with staff and residents — it’s knowing that I’ve assisted a resident with their goals, knowing I have made a difference to their day and knowing I have helped.

Aged care student, Jess

Jess loves all aspects of caring for elders, but she does hope to enrich her studies and pursue a specialty once she’s employed in residential care.

“I have so many dreams and goals.

“I love it all to be honest, but I would love to specialise in dementia, hopefully, and do some further study to complete a Certificate IV in Ageing Support.

“One day, down the line, I’d also like to be a case manager and become more of an advocate for the elderly.”

With workers striking on a weekly basis, fighting for remedies for the chronic workforce crisis, how does Jess feel about the prospects on entering the aged care industry in such tough times?

“This does worry me, because everyone wants to be recognised and awarded for the work they do as a carer.

“And being a carer isn’t an easy job. I really feel for the staff who have been doing this line of work for years and years and are not getting the pay they deserve.

You can always research, volunteer in a facility, or even email a local facility and ask what a carer role might look like on a day-to-day basis. Please, if you’re considering entering aged care, take that leap— I promise you it’s worth it!

Aged care student, Jess

“What keeps me determined to keep going isn’t just the friendships I’ve made with staff and residents — it’s knowing that I’ve assisted a resident with their goals, knowing I have made a difference to their day and knowing I have helped.

“It’s such a wonderful feeling and I’m sure it’s the same for other aged care workers too.

“Once you’re in aged care, I don’t think it’s something you can easily give up.”

Finally, Jess offers some advice for members of the public who are questioning whether a career in aged care might be for them.

“I know how hard it is to take that big leap onto something new.

“It is very frightening especially if you don’t know where to start or what that role of a carer would look like.

“You can always research, volunteer in a facility, or even email a local facility and ask what a carer role might look like on a day-to-day basis.

“Please, if you’re considering entering aged care, take that leap— I promise you it’s worth it!”

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