Residential aged care is not exactly a career path that many young workers aspire to, and isn’t glamorous.
Caring for another person full time is difficult and requires both patience and resilience.
It’s not for everyone, and that’s ok. But for many, it is a source of enduring reward.
What many don’t realise, is that working in aged care can offer workers, both old and young, a long and rewarding career.
It is an honour to care for our senior Australians and there a multitude of roles that are required to support our most vulnerable.
You have to be a special individual, with the right personal attributes, in order to be an effective aged care employee.
Not only must you have the professional skills required to care for someone, you must also possess the emotional qualities conducive to delivering quality care.
These people carry the responsibility of being entrusted with wellbeing of a vulnerable human being.
They are asked to play a number of different roles within facilities and on any given day may be required to play the role of confidant, counselor, carer, nurse or friend.
This level of responsibility coupled with the particular emotional qualities needed in a carer and the negative stereotypes surrounding caring for the elderly can make it difficult to find the right type of people to work in aged care.
Staff who spend years building bonds with residents who they care for must also face the stark reality that these people are nearing death, and when a resident inevitably dies they must also deal with the emotion accompanied by their passing and this can definitely take a toll mentally.
On the flip side though, there is absolutely nothing more rewarding for many than playing a positive part in an elderly person’s day.
The gift of giving is unparalleled in its ability to nourish the soul and the process of uplifting someone in a position of vulnerability might be the purest form of giving that there is.
The feelings that you get back from these actions are something that money simply can’t buy.
The Future Forecast
There are currently 3.7 million people over the age of 65 in this country which equates to roughly one out of every seven people.
This number and the proportion of older Australians is expected to continue growing, and by the year 2050 we will actually need over 1 million new aged care workers in order to accommodate our ageing population.
While this may initially seem like a great opportunity for prospective employment, the nature of the work means that we can’t just settle for people who are simply looking to be employed.
This workforce needs to want to work with older Australians.
In our experience, some members of the Aged Care Guild often require up to ten applicants in order to find one person who fits the bill from both a skill and character standpoint.
These are people who at their core, express a true desire to work in aged care and possess all the personal characteristics required to be effective in their role.
Some of our members have leading and highly innovative screening and recruitment practises and these methods were refined through an investment into workplace hiring, training and retention strategies.
We are proud of our workforce.
Believe it or not, our members have actually been criticized for their willingness to knock back potential staff, who have failed to meet screening and recruitment requirements, despite the fact that these decisions are being made with the best intentions for residents in mind.
But the reality of having a high benchmark in terms recruitment and training is higher staff quality, and we need to more of this consistently across this industry.
We need to challenge societies current views regarding ageing and the aged care sector.
People need to understand the value of investing in a sector that they may end up utilising in the latter stages of their life, and begin to view the task of caring for the elderly in the high regard it deserves.
We are at a critical point in planning for the future of the aged care sector, and it’s high time we started treating aged care services as the critical human services that they are.
The first step is the implementation of the Report of the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce A Matter of Care Australia’s Aged Care Workforce Strategy.
Lets not let it sit on a shelf like so many other reports into Aged Care in this country.
Australian Aged Care Guild