Aged only 19, frontline aged care worker Emma Taha is already worthy of appreciation for her extraordinary commitment and wisdom beyond her years supporting the frail people in her care.
The passion and dedication of frontline health and aged care staff like Taha, so important for saving lives during the winter Omicron peak, is the reason HammondCare says it is celebrating Appreciation Days this week, through to Sunday.
For the past two years, even while working in lockdown in full PPE, Taha has always been ready to dance with guests in her care and bake them “the best biscuits in the world” during her duties at HammondCare’s Lucinda Overnight Respite Cottage at Wahroonga.
Manager Kate Banner says the committed and caring teenager sets a wonderful example for other young people considering a career in aged care.
“We need more Emmas in the world!” she says.
HammondCare CEO Mike Baird is calling on everyone across his organisation, as well as the wider community, to take a moment to applaud with enthusiasm at midday tomorrow and share these moments of appreciation on social media with the hashtag #Thanksforcaring.
“Let’s make a noise for them,” he says.
“It’s vital we show our appreciation for the incredible work of our aged care and health frontline.”
On Sunday, August 7, there is a further opportunity with a Midday Minute of Reflection as part of HammondCare’s involvement in Aged Care Employee Day, being celebrated across the aged care sector.
Baird says HammondCare and the industry is continuing to advocate for long-awaited improvements in pay and conditions.
This includes supporting a work value case, seeking wage increases, now before the Fair Work Commission
“There’s never been a more important time than the middle of a challenging winter with increasing COVID spread and workforce pressure to come together and show our appreciation for our frontline aged care and health workers,” Baird says.
He said last year some care workers cried tears of joy when experiencing the applause and appreciation of their colleagues and others.
Taha’s short career to date has been interesting.
After leaving Turramurra High School she proceeded directly to Lucinda Overnight Respite Cottage in 2020, after hearing of the work from others who were working in home care.
At present she is studying nursing at Australian Catholic University while working at the cottage.
Almost all the guests who stay for short periods at the cottage – to give their carers a needed rest – have a diagnosis of dementia.
“I love the people I care for,” she says.
“No two people are the same and, like their personalities, their care needs are different.”
“I have learned lots from the wisdom of these guests and it has widened my perspective of the world.”
Banner said Taha takes on any shift, including night shifts, with enthusiasm to learn all she can.
“She is our youngest team member but shows such wisdom and maturity for her age,” she says.
“Emma dances with our guests, bakes simply delicious biscuits and supports our team without any drama – she is a true gift to her cottage manager, our guests, our team and HammondCare.”
In May, Taha was recognised for her work achievements with a HammondCare Mission in Action award along with 90 other staff for their exemplary commitment to their work.