UnitingCare Ageing is promoting the benefits and opportunities of a career in aged care with its state and territory wide ‘Remarkable Care’ campaign.
With the industry needing an additional 827,100 workers by 2050, it is no surprise aged care providers invest in the careers of their staff, empowering them to reach “great heights”.
Colin McDonnell joined UnitingCare Ageing more than a decade ago as a clinical coordinator and fondly retells his rapid climb from deputy manager to manager within two years. He was also awarded a scholarship to study a Masters in Health Sciences.
“Through my own experiences and through my studies, I noticed the way our buildings were set up was fine for people who could move around easily, but restricted particularly those with dementia,” Mr McDonnell said. “We have a saying in care, small spaces create small behaviours,” he added.
With the ability to think ‘outside the box’, Mr McDonnell helped create sensory gardens and intergenerational playgroups, which today have won several state and international aged care awards.
The intergenerational playgroups work with local childcare groups to empower those with dementia to provide care for others.
“We saw a huge effect on both the behaviours of our residents and of the young children. It especially helped the young boys become better behaved, which the staff at the child care centres were grateful for,” he said.
“The residents warm the bottles, feed the children, all the things any grandparent would be called on to do. It’s so important in recognising that those with dementia are very capable people, rather than treating them as sick.”
While Mr McDonnell’s achievements are large, allowing him to travel around Australia and America to learn and teach, he does not see it as an ‘out of reach’ goal for anyone.
“There are lots of things you can do if you are committed to providing good care.
“What is needed are things like validation, research and lots of learning needed to make these programs happen. UnitingCare empowered me to do all this.”
A recent staff survey showed 95% of UnitingCare Ageing staff enjoyed making a difference in the lives of older people and more than 90% were passionate about their work.