“Some residents dance across your heart and you remember them forever.” Clem, Lifestyles, North Adelaide
Having worked in aged care for 40 years, Clem has seen many changes. She started at Helping Hand as a Care Worker before joining the lifestyle team at North Adelaide, six years ago.
‘I started working in aged care in the late 1970s and the biggest change I have seen is that residents have a voice and their wishes and choices are heard. Back then, “nursing homes” were run like hospitals; there was little privacy or dignity.’
‘The one piece of advice I would give my 17 year-old self, would be to be more mindful of your physical health. Remember, this was before we had lifters and electronic beds, so the workload was very physically demanding.’
‘One thing I have learned working in residential care is how to manage my emotions. Easier said than done, as you do get attached. I like to say that some residents dance across your heart and you remember them forever. As for myself, having worked on this side of aged care, I have no fear or worries about getting older. Aged care continues to evolve and just gets better. As life goes on, I know I will have a voice and choices.’
In December 2021, Clem was one of the ‘Helping Hand Heroes’ working in Doreen Bond House (Frome wing) during COVID-19 visitor restrictions.
‘We all pitched in, taking on different roles, from housekeeping to serving meals and being there for residents, when their families and loved ones couldn’t visit. Yes, it was challenging, but we also had the best of times and lots of laughter. That’s where I had the idea of putting together a scrapbook filled with photos and anecdotes, so that families who weren’t on Facebook, could see what it was like. Since then, my humble scrapbook has grown and has been professionally published and copies given out to everyone. That was wonderful.’
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