How times flies when you love your work
When Astrid started in community and aged care in 1995, she was motivated to find a role that would work around her three school-aged children. Today, 25 years on, she’s one of KinCare’s longest serving Home Care Workers. We spoke to her about what she loves about her role.
“I love all aspects of my work. Right from the beginning, I’ve always loved what I do and going to work. I’m just a caring person,” she says.
Astrid trained as a nurse and spent more than 10 years in nursing before travelling overseas to work as a nanny. When she returned to Australia, shift work wasn’t suitable with a young family so she decided to explore something different.
“I fell into community care. I never thought that I would work in aged care. I didn’t think that I would enjoy it at all. But I absolutely love working with elderly people. They’ve got so much to tell you.”
A typical day for Astrid usually involves providing personal care and assisting Customers with showering and getting ready for their day. In the afternoons, Astrid takes her Customers shopping or out in the community for respite and social activities.
While some mornings can be challenging, Astrid says she enjoys helping Customers with their personal care, because she knows she is making a real difference.
“Most people are so grateful for what you’re doing for them and they really do appreciate you,” she says. “With Customers with dementia, you have to think ahead and realise what they want next. You get a bit of a sixth sense, and if you can anticipate what they’re going to do, they really do like that.”
Giving the highest quality of care to her Customers during each service is important to Astrid. “I give everyone 110% when I’m with them. I treat them like I would treat a family member, and if there is a problem, I forward it to my team leader and see whether we can work something out to get a better solution,” she explains.
When asked if there’s a Customer or memory she is particularly proud of during her time with KinCare, Astrid recalls a young woman with disability she supported with a team of carers.
“We made a huge difference, not only in her life, but in her parents’ life as well. They could really depend on all the carers to help them when she was in hospital and when she was really ill,” Astrid explains.
“When the parents would go away for a long weekend, we would support her for 24 hours. I know her mum felt comfortable with all of us. She knew that her daughter was getting the same kind of care as she would get when mum was there. That makes you feel really proud. It makes you feel good,” Astrid says.
Taking Customers out for social support is one of Astrid’s favourite activities, because the Customers enjoy it so much.
“They start talking about what their younger years were like and what they got up to. You’d be amazed what some of them did! It’s just wonderful to listen to their stories. Many have gone through the War and the Depression. They’ve got a lot to tell.”
Over her time with KinCare, Astrid has worked with many different aged care and disability Customers, including one elderly man she’s been supporting for more than 20 years! The experience has made her passionate about supporting older Australians to stay living in their own homes for longer.
“I think it’s lovely to see people in their 90s still living at home, going for a walk every day and doing voluntary work. That’s how I want to grow old,” she laughs.