Always do the work with love – Hanan’s aged care story
Originally from Iraq, Hanan came to Australia on a Humanitarian Visa in 2017.
Not long after settling, she started her journey to become an aged care worker.
“My sister was working in aged care and told me about her experience, how she enjoyed helping older people,” Hanan says.
Motivated by her empathetic spirit and desire to serve the community, Hanan set to work, taking evening classes in addition to looking after her mother.
Despite having little English proficiency at the time, Hanan was determined to study a community services certificate, eventually landing a Certificate IV in Disability and Certificate III in Education Support.
As a new migrant, the support Hannan received from teachers and students of the same background allowed her to persevere with her study.
“During my study my teachers were very supportive. I also had other students in the class from my culture. When you have someone studying with you in the same culture, you can help each other. There was lots of support and understanding.”
Through Hanan’s hard work, she eventually got an in-home support role in aged care.
Her work allows her to connect with staff and older people who come from a range of backgrounds.
“It’s very beautiful. I really enjoy working with people from diverse cultures,” Hanan says.
“Every culture is beautiful. Every culture is different in how they interpret and understand things. I learn a lot from them all.”
Through her work, Hanan met Shameran and Shaker. Hanan covered some shifts transporting the elderly couple to and from the shops and medical appointments, and the Iraqi couple immediately took a liking to her.
“When I went there and they heard me speaking in the same language, they told the care coordinator, ‘we want her to always come,’” Hanan says.
“From there, I built a good rapport with them.”
Hanan continues to help Shameran and Shaker with daily activities such as transportation and domestic errands.
“We’ve built a very good relationship; we always have good conversations.”
While Hanan and her Iraqi clients enjoy life in Australia, the bond developed between clients and aged care workers of shared language and heritage enriches the experience of working together.
“Iraq is my Mum, and I can say that Australia is my Dad,” Hanan says.
“Everyone loves Australia, but when you speak with someone in the same language, you feel like you’re back in your first home. So, there is more understanding.”
Hanan says that people can often misunderstand the scope of work that care and support workers provide and assume that care and support workers and cleaners are interchangeable roles.
“We do help older people with domestic tasks, but we also provide emotional support and look after them in holistic ways,” she says.
Hanan wholeheartedly encourages everyone to consider a career in care and support work.
“I’ve learned a lot from every person I’ve cared for. They are vulnerable people who really need caring and loving people to support them,” she says.
“If you have a passion to help others, the sector is growing and there are lots of opportunities.”
See more stories from the care and support sector.