Working in aged care enables you to make a significant impact on society by dedicating your time to caring for and supporting vulnerable individuals. Read on for eight things you need to know about working in aged care to make an informed decision.
Specific aged caregiving skills cannot be taught
A career in the aged care sector entails a wide range of skills. You are imparted with essential practical skills and knowledge necessary for your role in your selected course. However, vital soft skills such as patience, discretion, active listening, emotional intelligence, empathy, communication, and compassion cannot be taught. You have to rely on your ability to connect with patients to develop the best support and care ideal for their mental, emotional, social and physical health needs.
You work and earn while learning
Unlike other careers, you do not have to wait until you graduate to start earning as an aged caregiver. This is because job opportunities open up to you soon after enrolling in your aged care courses. The aged care industry allows for workplace training as a mode of delivery, enabling you to earn while continuing with your senior care course. Instead of juggling other jobs to alleviate your monetary pressure as you study, a career in aged care allows you to acquire on-the-job training.
Plenty of career options
A qualification in Aging & Home and Community Care opens doors to plenty of career opportunities you could choose from. Depending on your personal preference, you could choose a path in either of the following:
- Personal caregiver
- Nursing assistant
- Aged caregiver
- Support employee
- Assistant in nursing
- Care worker
The aged care sector requires a diverse team on the above levels, and you do not have to start training for the managerial roles. You could begin your career in the aged care industry as a support staff then work your way up through continued training. Alternatively, you could kickstart your career by striving to get Certificate II and III, then supplement your on-the-job training with a Diploma or Certificate IV course.
There are flexible working hours
One of the most attractive aspects of working in the senior care industry is the flexibility of working hours. Unlike other formal jobs, senior caregivers do not work from 9 am to 5 pm. Most workers in the aged care sector work part-time, which allows more flexibility in working conditions. This enables you to fit your working hours around your commitments.
Since you are not limited to a nine-to-five work schedule, you enjoy a balance between your work and family. You also enjoy additional benefits of working on the weekends and at night. The flexible working hours make a job in the aged care industry more rewarding as you get to achieve personal goals while making the lives of your patients better.
Working in aged care can be challenging
While serving older adults who need care and support the most and would not otherwise live wholly is rewarding, a career in aged care can also be challenging. You and your patient will often experience days when handling specific tasks and fulfilling responsibilities is more complicated than usual. Do not allow the difficult days to put you down!
If you actively listen to your client’s concerns and needs, are patient, and communicate effectively, overcoming a hurdle with your patient is one of the most fulfilling aspects of senior care.
Your services are always in demand
Few people venture into the aged care industry. This makes the demand for senior care services more than the available workers, which is good news for you due to increased competition for jobs in other industries. According to a recent publication, The parliament of Australia projects that the aged care industry needs to double or triple its workforce before 2050 to provide services to the increasing population of seniors. This gives you job security even in the future. Governments are also providing funding to allow more study aged care roles to meet the demand.
You develop a deeper appreciation for life and health
Working in aged care allows you to cater to people with disabilities and deteriorating health conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, and heart diseases. Some of your patients may also die. This triggers you to acknowledge other people’s struggles and appreciate your privileges, including good health and life!
It is fulfilling
Working in aged care is a heartwarming job. You get to help the elderly run errands and move around, among other care and support services that may appear minor to you but bring immense happiness to the seniors and their loved ones. You also witness ‘miracles’ such as a dementia resident finally recognizing a family member or a stroke client learning and trying to talk.
Working in aged care provides career progression opportunities and fulfillment. Familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of working in senior care to determine whether a career in the sector is right for you.