Sunny-side up: a career in compassion - Mina's aged care story
There’s a misconception that working in aged care is just about looking after people. The truth is that the workers get just as much out of it.
Just ask aged care worker Mina.
“I always learn so much from the seniors – their life experience, their stories,” she says.
“Even if it’s a new person I’ve never met before, I am really touched by their stories, and I learn a lot.
“Even just life skills, like how to cook the most delicious egg!”
Mina provides in-home assistance for older people. She works with a range of clients, all of whom have some level of dementia.
After completing a Certificate IV in Community Services, Mina has worked in the sector since 2020 – providing much needed care and support through Victoria’s COVID-19 lockdowns. It was an undoubtedly challenging time to join the sector, but for Mina there’s not a doubt in her mind that she made the right choice.
“I love it! I’m never leaving this job!” she says.
As with many in the care and support workforce, it’s hard for Mina to describe what a ‘typical’ day is like.
“You might be helping people to take their medication, to take a shower, preparing meals,” Mina says.
“But a big part of it is checking in. Having a social chat with them and making sure everything’s okay,” she says.
Making her clients happy holds a special importance to Mina. She attributes a large part of her decision to start working in aged care to the loss of her grandmother during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not being able to go back to China to visit or attend the funeral made Mina think deeply about older people without loved ones around them.
“Thinking about those people who live alone – that’s what made me decide to do this. You really make their day. They are so happy to see you. I’m kind of like a VIP to them.”
“I was raised by my grandma back in China, she was my role model for the first three or four years of my life. I know how important it is to respect and care for seniors,” says Mina.
“To do this work, you have to have passion and compassion. You have to really care about people,” says Mina.
Mina truly believes that anyone with the right mix of patience and passion can excel in aged care – and that the skills you need could come from anywhere in life. For her, they come from her experience as a mother and from her cultural background.
“Being a mum really helped me a lot – it helps you learn patience,” says Mina.
“And being a foreigner helps me too, because I can understand all sorts of people. I’ve been working with one client for three or four months. She wasn’t born here either, but she’s been in Australia for a long time,” says Mina.
“She has an Asian background as well, but she is from Sri Lanka so we speak to each other in English. But we have some shared, similar stories. Our ways of thinking, our life values… It’s really easy for me to talk with her.”
The care and support sector is now hiring. With a job in aged care, disability or veterans’ support, you will learn, grow and change lives. See more stories like Mina’s.
If you, like Mina, want a life-changing life, what are you waiting for?