Beneath the Falling Yellow Leaves: The Joy of Being an Aged Care...

Beneath the Falling Yellow Leaves: The Joy of Being an Aged Care Worker

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One year ago, I took a new and unexpected turn in my life. I was completely broke with no income, and it had been like that for a long time. I had been working nonstop for years as a professional photographer, but it was no longer generating any income.

I saw a job for an ‘Aged Care Worker’ position and didn’t think I would like it, but the agency explained that there are different levels of care, and I could choose the ‘low care’ option, which I found very appealing.

I went for an interview, was sent for a thorough medical check, then was offered the job. I had to have a whole host of vaccinations, apply for a police check certification, change the insurance on my car, fill in a mountain of paperwork, and learn how to use their mobile computer system and understand a whole new range of terminology, as well as be able to work to a tight schedule that involved a lot of travel throughout suburbs that I didn’t know very well. The same month I started the job, July 2016, I went back to study 2 days a week for 6 months. I worked my butt off in class and doing assessments, plus 120 hours of practice experience – it nearly broke me. I attained my certification and was one of the top students in the class.

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I work mostly with clients who have dementia, and found that I really enjoyed one certain aspect of the work, and that is the role of offering social support (yes, that’s actually a thing). I did what I do best, and took a personal interest in these lovely oldies and showed them that they are special, valued, and interesting.

I also became known as the “massage lady”, as they usually get a free shoulder massage before I leave. And most of these people request me back, which means my roster is basically full of “social support” work – so, I have earned my way into having the perfect job.

I didn’t know it one year ago, but it is actually ‘my calling’ I was born for this job. And if you have any preconceptions about what my job entails, this photo and little story gives you a glimpse into how I spend my Saturdays.

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When I took this photo, I was with two elderly women – two of the nicest people I have ever met; and I am blessed to spend time in their company. We gazed in awe at the magnificence of these trees with their leaves drifting in the breeze and they said “Isn’t it beautiful? It’s magical.”

Linking arms with these two gorgeous ladies, we walked under the trees and were all smiling in awe at the beauty around us and at how grateful we were to be in each other’s company. Then, one of the ladies started reciting a poem she had learned many years ago, called “Yellow Leaves”. I almost cried. But I was too happy, so I gently caressed her cheek with the back of my hand and told her she was ‘gorgeous’ – she said I was ‘precious’ and the third lady started to dance… beneath the falling yellow leaves.

(WATCH the video below)

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