Jordan and Shiralee didn’t start their careers as support workers. Jordan, 30, served in the army and mother of three Shiralee, 31, worked as a receptionist and a cleaner. Now, as part of the Centacare team, they are fulfilling what they describe as a long-held calling to care.
Sunday 7 August marks Aged Care Employee Day, an opportunity to say #ThanksforCaring and recognise the incredible work of 360,000 Australians like Jordan and Shiralee who enrich the lives of older people in residential, home and community care settings.
It’s 8am on Thursday morning and Jordan is visiting Vera, 97, at her Nundah home. Vera is fiercely independent and determined to do as much as she can using her walker. She puts the washing on and tidies the house, taking special care around her treasured collection of owls and framed family photographs.
She says she looks forward to her weekly visits from Jordan.
“He vacuums and mops the floors, cleans the bathroom and takes care of odd jobs – anything I might need a hand with,” said Vera.
“He’s just brilliant. He does all the things I can’t manage. I’ll read the paper and we’ll have a chat about who’s making the news. I enjoy his company.”
Jordan saw the incredible difference at-home care made for his grandmother and is passionate about supporting others to age well and enjoy life from the comfort of home.
“There’s something unique in each person’s house that’s special to them,” said Jordan. “Older people have the best stories – you can learn so much from them.”
Across town, Shiralee is visiting Shirley, 90, at her Corinda home. They have recipe books out and are planning what they’ll cook this week. Shirley runs the show. She’s been cooking for 70 years and knows the secret to a good beef bourguignon. Shiralee provides back-up – getting out the slow cooker, chopping the veggies and setting up small containers so they can freeze and refrigerate portions for later.
Over the past months, Shiralee and Shirley have worked together to clean out and organise what is truly a ‘cook’s pantry’. Neatly labelled canisters of flour, oats and breadcrumbs have replaced a multitude of packets and out-of-date products. Shirley has arthritis in her hands and Shiralee takes care to makes sure the things Shirley uses most are easy to reach.
In the garden, they laugh and joke as Shiralee snips the herbs Shirley will use to finish off her dish. “She’s taught me so much about cooking,” said Shiralee. “I love seeing her do what she loves and being part of that. That’s what this work is all about for me. It’s a labour of love.”
Jordan and Shiralee are just two of many Centacare support workers who walk alongside people to make a meaningful difference in their lives. If care is your calling, find out more about becoming a Centacare support worker.