This is branded content for Feros Care
When it comes to finding a fulfilling career in a job that offers flexibility as well as opportunities for development, aged care might not necessarily be top of mind for many people.
It's a sector facing the challenge of overcoming misconceptions and stereotypes about the reality of working in aged care that can prevent it from being considered.
But there are those with experience in aged care who are keen to let people know just how rewarding it can be working in a job where each day you see the positive impact you can have on someone's life.
Whether you're a young person just out of school, a career switcher, a working mum, an empty nester, interested in volunteerting, or maybe a retiree who wants to work a few extra hours, the message from those who care for our seniors say it's a job that's offered many benefits while also allowing them to make a difference in their community.
Ammorie Ormsby had been working as a data analyst for an energy company when she decided to switch careers and started working in aged care.
"I needed a change," she said. "I wanted to be able to look forward to going to work every day and doing something that was rewarding and out in the community that's not stuck inside four walls."
Ammorie found the change she was looking for in her role as a community support worker with leading not-for-profit aged care provider Feros Care, where she's worked for eight years. Today, she's also helping to train and lead others coming into the industry.
"We know people are much more comfortable and have better quality of life when they're living within their own home," she said. "It's a real privilege for me to help them do that by assisting and supporting them in their home and the community. Giving them some independence to do the things they want to do."
The diverse tasks can range from help with domestic chores or in the garden, to taking clients out shopping, to special outings or to a doctor's appointment.
"There are lots of little things that we might take for granted but that helps them in a massive way - it's so enjoyable." Ammorie said.
The best part of the job is the friendships that develop over time with clients, she said.
"You gain a rapport and start building a relationship with them, you make them feel comfortable and you start learning about them on a different level," she said. " I get to learn from them, and vice versa."
Being able to more easily juggle work and parenthood has been one of the benefits of working in aged care for nurse - and keen skydiver, Korrine Napier.
Like many working mums with young children, Korrine was torn between her workplace and her family and experiencing "colossal mum guilt". Working in jobs with rigid work hours she'd had to sacrifice many things that mean a lot, like taking her daughter to school.
That was until she started working as a wellbeing manager at Feros Care where she has the flexibility to be a hands-on mum as well as develop her career.
"They changed my hours to allow for school runs so now I can do drop off and pick up which is amazing and I don't get the mum guilt any more," she said.
"The icing on the cake is that I absolutely love the job and making a difference to my clients' lives every day."
Having always wanted to work in a caring role, Korrine started school-based training in aged care when she was 15. She went to TAFE one day a week and worked two days in a residential aged care home.
Deciding her ultimate goal was nursing, she studied for a Diploma in Nursing throughout her first pregnancy, sitting for her final exam when her son was just three days old. She plans to eventually study to become a Registered Nurse.
Raised by her grandparents, Korrine has always had a great admiration and appreciation for seniors. She's overjoyed to be working in a career helping them live better and happier lives.
"If there was a role made for me this is it," she said. "Even when you assist with something so small like helping a client with shopping the level of appreciation is incredible. We are able to bring so much joy to their lives and that brings us joy."
Young nursing student Zahra Fox began working in aged care during her studies as a way to gain practical experience that would support her learning and give her a solid foundation in nursing care.
This career-developing stepping stone, however, has given Zahra far more than relevant skills-based experience and smashed a few stereotypes along the way.
Loved by residents for her vibrant red hair and energy, the snowboarding enthusiast has worked at Feros Care as a residential care worker for almost two years and says a lot of people are "very surprised" when they hear about her choice.
"The aged care stereotypes are all wrong," said Zahra "They think that aged care workers aren't driven and don't really care, that it's just a job and fulfilling tasks on a list but in reality it's about ensuring each resident has the best possible rest of their life.
"You impact their lives more than you realise and it's an amazing feeling knowing that you've made that difference."
The residents don't fit the stereotype either. "They're not just people waiting to die and it's anything but boring; we laugh, and there are some real characters," Zahra said. "Getting to know them and hearing all their stories...it's so special. I truly love all of it."
As a student Zahra also appreciates that Feros supports her career goals and is understanding when she needs flexibility to accommodate study and placements. "That flexibility can be hard to find but Feros is fantastic, It eases so much stress."
Occupational Therapist Kim Attenborough decided to move into the aged care sector more than ten years ago. She'd realised the powerful benefits of working with her patients in their own home where she could "see the whole person", particularly her senior patients.
Now Feros Care's Executive Manager-Community, Kim says she loves receiving feedback from team members about how rewarding they find the work, and being able to support them to build their careers in the sector.
"Aged care is a hard sell sometimes and there are definitely misconceptions around what aged care work is," she says. "But one of the things we talk about with our team is that indescribable feeling you get from arriving at someone's home and knowing that you're supporting them to stay in the homes they love for longer, and have that community connection that is so important."
"We do become part of our clients' lives; it's not just a transactional service - we say we come to do with you, not do for you, helping people live the best life they can by being supported to do everything they are able to do, the things that are meaningful to them."
The desire to make that difference has inspired many people to switch careers and join Feros Care.
"They come from diverse backgrounds, we have former hairdressers, beauty therapists, a whole range," says Kim.
"For people who haven't been carers before, we support them with a comprehensive internal training program and supportive leaders, and also through TAFE and university courses, which could be a Certificate IV Individual Support or a Bachelor of Nursing or Physiotherapy. We're always supporting our team members to grow and achieve their career goals."
To find out how you can apply your skills in a career that makes a difference to the lives of seniors at Feros Care visit feroscare.com.au/people