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The sector thanks their aged care heroes

Ahead of Aged Care Employee Day (ACED) on 7 August, the industry is showing its appreciation and love for its dedicated workforce.

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Ozelle Hutley from the Carinity Hilltop aged care community and Larissa Gear, Carinity Aged Care Regional Manager, have worked in aged care for 50 years between them. [Source: Carinity]

This year's theme is #ThanksforCaring and highlights the professionalism and passion that staff have illustrated again and again to keep older Australians safe during a really difficult 18 months.

ACED 2021 thanks the over 360,000 strong aged care workforce that provides care to 1.3 million older people in Australia who need support either through care at home services or in residential aged care.

Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck, says that all aged care workers should be proud of their commitment to the sector during COVID-19.

"This is an extraordinarily challenging time. Can I send my gratitude to every single person who goes above and beyond in providing care to others, who do their best to care and support people who we love," says Minister Colbeck.

"Your care and commitment has been the backbone for the sector and the wider community, as we continue on a path to a stronger future."

Providers show their appreciation

Aged care provider, Carinity, has recognised its employees who provide care and support to Queensland seniors living across their residential aged care communities and through their in home care services. 

The company has highlighted some of their workers this year, including Kathy Nicholls, a Regional Manager for Carinity, who has worked in the industry for 24 years. She loves the relationships she is able to form with residents.

"My mum worked in aged care when I was growing up and I always loved watching the connections she had with the residents. I pretty much grew up in my mum’s aged care home and would go there before and after school, spending time talking to the residents. I loved it," says Kathy.

Amanda Marshall, a Lifestyle Coordinator at Carinity, gave up her banking career to work with older people so they can remain living in their home for longer.

"In banking, there were always changes which were difficult for the seniors to understand, so they needed support. It is the same with aged care," explains Ms Marshall.

"Seniors don’t want you to take their independence away, but they want support to help them live their best life. I believe in treating our clients as if they are my family. I care for them just as I would want someone to care for my mother or my grandmother."

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Carinity, Jon Campbell, has expressed his gratitude to all the employees who work for the company who display selfless determination to care for the most vulnerable.

"On Aged Care Employee Day, we take time to reflect on the compassionate care they give to our valued seniors every minute of every hour of every day," says Mr Campbell.

Wesley Mission has praised the efforts of their 1,600 aged care employees for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The organisation's CEO Jude Emmer, says it is important all providers recognise the work of their aged care workers, including the nurses, care workers, allied health professionals, hospitality teams, drivers, cleaners, volunteers, lifestyle officers, administration staff, and many more.

"To say I am proud of all of our aged care teams is an understatement. They are our unsung heroes. They leave their homes and families every day to tirelessly care for our elders. Throughout the whole of this pandemic, they have shown up and spread love and hope and kept those in our care safe."

Peak bodies express gratitude to the hardworking workforce

Industry peak bodies are thanking those who work in aged care for the selfless, hard work they provide to Australia's most vulnerable.

Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), believes that aged care workers are doing everything in their power to keep older people safe with CEO Sean Rooney saying, "It takes a special kind of passion and dedication to work in aged care, especially during the trying times in the past 18 months that we have seen with the COVID-19 pandemic.

"All the workers in aged care – they may be quiet achievers but in my eyes they are superheroes. They all deserve our thanks for their professionalism, passion and making a meaningful and positive difference in the lives of our valued older Australians."

Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA), peak body for non-profit providers, agrees, saying that the past year has been incredibly challenging for all Australians yet aged care staff have been going above and beyond for their consumers.

"Particularly for those committed and passionate people who care for our older Australians during the COVID-19 pandemic and do all they can to keep them safe," says ACSA CEO Patricia Sparrow.

"Aged care workers deserve our respect and our recognition. They are on the frontline of the pandemic and providing care for some of the most vulnerable in our community, every day of the year. Take the time to thank the care workers in your life and show them your support.”

Executive Director of Baptist Care Australia, Nicole Hornsby, says the charity wants to call attention to the deep respect they have for everyone who works in aged care and celebrate all aged care employees across the nation.

"This day is for you. We want you to know that you are valued each and every day – we thank you for the extraordinary things you do that make a difference in the lives of others," says Ms Hornsby.

"We thank you for all the sacrifices you make to help older Australians and their families, particularly over the last 18 months, which can only be described as the toughest of times. Thank you!"

The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) believes that aged care workers not only provide care, they provide critical wellness to their consumers by developing strong relationships with them.

OPAN CEO Craig Gear says, "The relationships they develop are critical to the health and safety of older people, and in many cases, are treasured.

"Thank you to aged care workers for the work you do to ensure older people's views are heard, their needs met, and their rights respected."

Dementia Australia also acknowledges the hundreds of thousands of people in the industry that support people with dementia.

Maree McCabe, CEO of Dementia Australia says, "We recognise the immense contribution of aged care employees to people living with dementia, their families and carers and the important role they play in their lives.

"Aged care employees are on the frontline every day working to provide care for Australians, including those living with dementia.

"On Aged Care Employee Day, and every day, we thank and appreciate aged care staff for their professionalism, compassion, empathy, dignity and the care they provide."

To pay tribute to aged care workers this ACED, use the hashtag, #ThanksforCaring, on Saturday 7th August, and visit the Aged Care Employee Day website to send compliments to the aged care workforce.

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