This month Rita celebrates 25 years working at Parafield Gardens. She is part of the fabric of daily life and her commitment to caring is as strong today as it was when she first started her journey with Helping Hand.
Rita applied for a job at Parafield Gardens on the recommendation of a friend. ‘I lived in the area and didn’t even know this place existed. And here I am 25 years later’, says Rita.
‘I started in the kitchen, became a relief supervisor, then a team leader and now my role is Hotel Services Site Manager.’
Rita credits her Italian culture and the influence of her mum and dad, (pictured above) for making her the person she is today.
‘When my parents came to Adelaide, my grandparents all stayed in Italy. So, for me, residents almost take on that role of a grandparent. In the sense of having an older, wiser person in your life. I give them the “respect” that in my culture you would automatically give to a grandparent or older person. These relationships have given me a sense of what it might have been like to have grown up with my nonna or nonno.
‘I speak and care about the people who live here, in the same way I speak to, and care about, my Mum and Dad. As your parents get older, you take on more of the caring and nurturing role. I want to be there to encourage them to see things in a more positive way, to listen and comfort them. I’m all about embracing every day, living life to the fullest and seeing the positive. That’s the energy and attitude I try to bring to work every day.
‘I come in and the first thing I do is walk around calling out ”How ya’ going?” and giving out high fives. We are like a family here and I love em’ all! When they hurt. I hurt. You need to feel that connection – otherwise why would you work here?
‘My husband asks me when I am going to retire, but I enjoy being here. I have a lot more to give and I ain’t gonna give up just yet!
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