When you ask a young one what they’d like to be, so many things come up. There are doctors in the room, engineers, and so on. Not many would say they’d like to be aged care professionals and watch over grandpas and grandmas in their older ages.
But just like other careers, caring for our beloved grandpas and grandmas in their second lap can be as fulfilling and challenging. This article is here to show you why and how.
It will share the joys of writing a smile on the faces of these beloved elders. It’ll also share the struggles that may stand in your way and how to overcome them.
There are many different types of aged care jobs you can take up if you choose this path. Each of them comes wrapped in its own candy. But here are some of the sweet spots in this line of (joyful) duty.
What’s more fulfilling than meeting Grandma Loice, whom you previously had never known, and glossing over memories from her high school prom over tea? How about helping Grandpa Albert finish up that wood carving and then doing a jig to celebrate? That’s a reward you’ll likely encounter down this road.
There’s this 2019 World Population Prospects report. It says that by 2050, one in six people in the world will be 65+. Yeah, that beats one in 11 in 2019. Let that sink in.
An increase in the number of people in their second lap means an increased need for aged care services. That means more demand for the lucky you who have the interest of our beloved memaws and pappys in your heart and mind.
Are you a nurse? Good. A caregiver? Nice. A therapist? Perfect. Grandma Anne could use your help to walk like she did back in the catwalk days. Grandpa Albert may not be too well this morning.
In this world, you don’t have to be one thing. Come with the relevant skills you have. Our beloved elders will appreciate you.
When you took up this sacred job, you wanted to stop at the caregiver stage. But maybe you’ve seen that, as a therapist, you could do much more to soothe Grandma Anne’s pain.
This field can make your wish come true through continuing education and further training. And what do you get in return? You can try something else, become good at it, and who knows? Maybe top your field?
Choosing this path isn’t for the faint of heart. Like anything good, it comes with its grey side.
It’s aged care. Many things will happen despite your best efforts. The gleeful Papa Jack you’ve come to love will pass on in his sleep. Mama Loice, who just yesterday was telling you about her three daughters, may not remember your face tomorrow.
Dealing with these uncertainties can take a (physical and emotional) toll on you if you let it. You’ve got to develop coping mechanisms like mindfulness, setting boundaries, and seeking support to take you through the day there and back home when it’s over.
It’s no secret that for a while now, the aged care field has been losing some of its best. Low wages, overwork… the list goes on. When people leave, more work ends up on your desk. That means more shifts, more aged care patients, and more time away from home.
Don’t drown in all this. Seek support when you feel like it’s getting out of hand. Push some tasks down to the new intern eager to learn, and only engage Grandma Joyce in some fireside chitchat when you can. She’ll understand.
You admire Grandpa Jack’s decision to walk without his crutches, but you also know he’ll likely fall and hurt himself. Grandma Alice’s family wants you to try the latest technique to treat her aggressive cancer, but she just wants peace and rest in her sunset days.
It’s not a comfortable place to be, but these are dilemmas you’ll likely meet. In these moments, you’ll have to lean into empathy, know the ethical principles and guidance like the back of your hand, and develop proper communication skills. With these, you’ll likely do right by the family and your patient.
The challenges mentioned here are not for the faint of heart. Dealing with them every day will likely cause you to burn out. Don’t let it get there. More self-care, less worry. Mental health support? Yes. Any time you need it.
You’ve seen just how rewarding this career path can be. You’ve also seen the challenges likely standing in your way. Now, we’ll show you how to stand tall despite the above.
Is there a yoga class near you? Consider enrolling. Feeling overwhelmed? Seek support. Feeling stressed? Stress management techniques like deep breathing exercises and mindfulness have got your back.
Too many residents and too few of you? Raise the alarm. The tech takes ages to load your resident’s data, making you late for your rounds? Let those in charge know. Actively participating in these conversations can bring about the changes you need.
Anne, from therapy, rebounded from a serious mental breakdown last year. Now she knows tons of ways to ensure that doesn’t happen again. Learn from her.
Organizations geared towards protecting your welfare? Yes, please. A colleague who seems to effortlessly make Mr. Albert laugh in a way that melts your heart? Learn from them.
What tickles your fancy most about your work? Is it sharing a cuppa with Miss Sue, or delving into tales of Miss Anne’s rocking days and that wild elopement with the lead guitarist?
Cherish these moments, and the bad days won’t matter as much.
There’ll be days that you’ll love and others that make you question everything about the career path you’ve chosen. That’s human. But whatever the case, don’t let strange times leave you disoriented.
We’ve shared tips to guide you. Keep them in mind, and you’ll probably keep that smile on your face. And when you show up beaming on a Monday morning, you’ll probably make Grandma Sue happy for another day on earth.