Respect Celebrates Staff on Aged Care Employee Day
Each year on 7 August, Aged Care Employee Day invites us to honour the 370,000 residential care, home care and retirement living staff who care for more than 1.5 million older Australians.
For Respect, the day is an opportunity to celebrate and recognise our broad network of staff members across the country – their ongoing dedication and commitment, as well as the wonderful support they play for so many in our communities and beyond.
As an organisation, Respect remains proudly connected with our own origins – a century of caring for older Australians. Whether it is across our aged care homes, retirement living villages, or in the support we provide older Australians through home care, our values and sense of community sit at the heart of everything we do. And this is driven by our amazing people, who we are lucky to call part of our Respect family.
To celebrate Aged Care Employee Day, we profile three employees currently supporting others through our aged care, home care and retirement living services.
Kaila, Social Care Coordinator
Within months of finishing her high school studies, Kaila excitedly accepted a traineeship with Alcheringa. Little did she know at the time but more than 15 years later and she would still be playing an integral role in the home’s community.
Kaila’s initial 18-month traineeship offered her the opportunity to experience several areas of care and support across the home. And as luck may have it, when her stint was complete, a vacancy opened up in their social care team – and as Kaila says: “I’ve been here ever since!”
Kaila says it’s because she finds her role so rewarding that she is just as engaged and driven now as she was when she first joined Alcheringa.
“Making a positive difference to our residents’ quality of life is the most rewarding thing. Just seeing that positive change, and helping be a part of it,” she says. “I also enjoy the friendships with both staff and residents. You get a feeling you’re part of an extended family, especially with residents and their own loved ones.”
It’s drawing on, and continuing to build on, those feelings of community, inclusion and participation that drives Kaila and her team’s social care calendar. As she explains, they have recently been focused on incorporating more elements from the surrounding Swan Hill community into their activities and events, especially during recent challenges.
“With Covid in recent years, it can sometimes be difficult to regularly bring the community into our home, but we’ve tried to still draw on and mirror what’s happening across the Swan Hill region. A great example was our Food and Wine Festival, which coincided with the community event and was a big success with residents and staff alike.”
Maya, Retirement Living Manager
Maya knows full well how important it is to build trust with residents, and it is through this people-focused approach to care that she is making a positive difference to the lives of others in our retirement living community.
“My role is chiefly about being there to support our residents in our southern retirement villages – to help with whatever pops up, with whatever they want to talk about, and at the end of the day, providing them and their families with peace of mind,” she says. “I also liaise with prospective residents and their families too, so we can ensure more people in the community are being connected with opportunities to be a part of our villages.”
Maya is no stranger to juggling diverse responsibilities, while coordinating various facets of customer-centred care. Prior to joining Repsect, she worked in hotels and tourism. With the industry impacted significantly during the pandemic, Maya was looking for a change – particularly a role that would allow her to ‘give back’.
Fast forward 12 months and Maya reflects that the most rewarding thing about her current role is the warm relationships she has fostered with residents and their families.
“When I first started with our southern villages, I think residents felt they needed some extra focus and love. They had been through a really challenging time with the tail-end of Covid and many were feeling unsettled,” she says. “However, I felt very fortunate to have been greeted warmly by residents, who were so open when I started in the role – and things kept improving from there.
“I’m lucky to have been welcomed into their homes and their lives. That is the most rewarding part of my job – being able to contribute to the sense of family we have built across our villages.
Poy, Home Care Support Worker
Maliwan Kamontham – widely known as ‘Poy’– may have only been working in home care for just over six months, but her drive, passion and personable nature have already made her a favourite amongst our clients and team members alike.
Above all, Poy says she is driven by a simple goal: “to make a positive difference to people’s lives”.
When working with, and caring for, home care clients, Poy says she focuses on ‘being herself, being respectful, and building connections’.
“My role is about assisting people to continue to live in the comfort in their own home as they age,” she says. “So I work with our home care clients to improve their physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing, so they can maintain their independence.”
Poy shares how rewarding she finds her job, as well as the role she plays in clients’ lives.
“I really enjoy being able to take clients out and assisting them to continue doing the things they enjoy,” she says. “I love being able to be there for them, making them smile, and assisting them with whatever I can, so they can remain independent and safe.
“I see clients for who they are and their individuality, and then accommodating their needs accordingly. I treat my clients how I would like my parents or grandparents to be treated and cared for. So often, it doesn’t seem like ‘work’ for me… it’s just something that comes naturally when caring for someone.”
Casting an eye to the future, Poy is looking forward to continuing her professional journey with Respect, as well as helping grow our organisation’s home care division, via a secondment as a Scheduling Officer in our Head Office.