Georgia from the Brotherhood’s Sumner House shares her passion for healthy ageing26 October 2012
Nine years ago I began working with older people in their homes as a carer, as well as working with frail people in a rehabilitation/gym setting because I’m also a qualified health and fitness coach specialising in working with over 55s.
I went on to study Lifestyle and Leisure as I really wanted to explore what positive changes I could make to people living in aged care facilities. I had witnessed that ‘activities programs’ within aged care homes didn’t really benefit individuals but rather were setup as just ‘something to do’. I felt like I could make a difference and had a genuine desire to provide a higher quality service to the older people in my care. My passion has always been with healthy ageing!
Soon after, I started my new role as a Diversional Therapist. I experienced working in a couple of aged care facilities that were privately run before joining the Brotherhood about five years ago and commencing work at Sumner House, a 42 bed aged care facility. I didn’t realise at the time that Sumner House was part of such a large organisation and I had no idea that the people I would care for here would have lived lives of poverty and homelessness. I honestly thought I didn’t have the skills, the knowledge or the power to enrich their lives.
Within my first year I needed to learn and understand more about the older people we care for. I was supported by the organisation to attend courses and training that would give me the skills I needed to provide a higher standard of care. I used everything I knew and drew upon my past experiences and knowledge to create an environment that was the same as I had offered in the privately run facilities. After all, there really is no difference between the clients I had cared for and the clients that are now in my care; everybody deserves the same opportunities.
It’s taken time, passion and commitment to build new relationships and deliver a service that has changed our Sumner House residents' lives for the better. I have the pleasure of working with individuals to provide them with activities they want to be a part of, and have ongoing access to training and education via the Brotherhood to create a better environment for all. A huge pleasure in my role at Sumner House is the joy it brings me to offer activities, outings and experiences the residents here would not have otherwise experienced. For example, recently I was involved in bringing a group of retired AFL legends to Sumner House to have afternoon tea with the residents. They loved reminiscing with the sporting heroes of their day!
I believe having the opportunities to learn and grow through this organisation has not only made me a better employee, but a stronger person. The relationships I have built with the people we care for have given me a new outlook on life and taught me to focus on the things that can be done, rather than dwelling on the obstacles. The Brotherhood’s Sumner House provides excellent care to those who need it most, and I’m proud to be part of it.