An inside look into the aged care career of a trainer
Rewarding is a term frequently used to describe a career in aged care, and Royal College aged care trainer Michelle Gleeson completely agrees. Spending her time making elderly people’s days better and putting a smile on their faces truly fulfills the definition of rewarding.
While Michelle was passionate about caring for the elderly from a young age, she didn’t find the confidence to explore a career in aged care until she was in her 40s. Now with many years of working within the sector, Michelle is still committed to aged care and its impact on the lives of some of the most vulnerable members of our communities.
An aged care trainer career journey
It all started for Michelle when she enrolled in a Certificate III in Individual Support (CHC33015), followed by a Certificate IV in Ageing Support (CHC43015). As a single mum of three children, earning an income while studying was essential While undertaking training, Michelle could work in the sector, gaining important on the job experience at the same time as earning an income.
The hands-on experience Michelle secured through working while training gave her an in-depth understanding and appreciation for the theory covered in her course material, and ultimately graduate with confidence.
Michelle’s aged care career continued to grow, and she contributed to advancing her knowledge with further training. Completing her Certificate IV in Leisure and Health (CHC43415) lead to a new role as a Lifestyle Coordinator. In this position the focus was on learning as much as possible about each individual in her care, with the goal of creating a care plan that would maximise outcomes and quality of life.
“I would get to know everyone personally to come up with ideas for activities and organize outings that will bring out the best in them and support their wellbeing, while working within a budget”, Michelle detailed.
Tailored care for every ageing person
Through exploring lifestyle activities to support the health and wellbeing of elderly individuals, Michelle discovered the power of Montessori-based activities and music. She explained that it’s important to consider each individual looking into what they may have enjoyed through their lives and what they are good at to give them the best experience.
“Music I have found is really powerful. I worked with a lady who had not long been at the facility and didn’t speak much, she was quite shy. We arranged a music afternoon and all of a sudden, we heard the most amazing voice — it gave us goosebumps as it was so beautiful. We turned around and she was singing at the top of her lungs, having barely spoken. We were all in tears, it was an incredible moment.”
From then on Michelle explains that she utilised that insight and incorporated regular music into the elderly woman’s program, resulting in her feeling more comfortable in the setting within a short time. There are so many moments like these working in aged care and Michelle describes it as an honour.
“It’s just an just an honour to go in there and make a difference in people’s day. It’s an honour to sit there and hold someone’s hand while they pass away, and do whatever you can to improve the time they’ve got left and make it special.”
Empathy and compassion for quality aged care
Through her aged care career, Michelle has been able to get to know many elderly people and hear their stories. These experiences have given her a sense of gratitude for each individual life, and she hopes that society celebrates our oldest citizens and provides care to them.
“Every generation has so much to offer one another, and the biggest thing I’ve gained over the years is a greater appreciation for the elderly people around us. Even just when you’re down the street, give them a smile — you can make someone’s day,” she says.
If you’re considering a career in aged care, ensure you have the empathy and compassion to provide the quality of support that elderly Australians deserve. From then, Michelle says jump in and get started.
“I only wish I’d started my aged care career sooner!”
Are you interested in learning more about an aged care career? Our experienced trainers such as Michelle can share a wealth of valuable information about the rewarding aged care sector and a career within it.
Get in touch with Royal College today.