The Enriching Qualities of Working with Seniors
Posted on March 04, 2022
As the Care Supervisor for Beauty Point Retirement Resort and the soon-to-be Oasis Peakhurst, Aimee Patel has found she gains a great deal of satisfaction from her role because she gets to know each of the residents and, as she says: “It’s really satisfying getting to know them and being part of their family – knowing who they are and their life story.”
Aimee works with her staff at the retirement communities, striving to make a great deal of difference to the lives of the residents. As Aimee says: “I hope we’re able to make a difference. It's just me doing my job – and my staff - making our residents’ lives as manageable as possible as they age.”
When asked about her role and whether she gets job satisfaction from working with the elderly, Aimee is quick to point out there can be a misconception that it’s boring and she said it’s “Anything but!”
In fact, Aimee would say her experience of working as a nurse overseeing retirement communities has made her “a better nurse.” She’s on call 24/7 if any of the residents feel ill or are injured, and these challenges have honed her skills and increased her empathy towards everyone involved.
Aimee adds: “For me, I've been working with Beauty Point since 2011. Before that, I've had jobs at a mental health clinic, I was also a mission worker for a Youth Ministry - so I’ve worked in some different environments. Now I’m working with the elderly and I would say there's a beauty to be found in all of these jobs.”
Getting to know everyone’s stories is such a joy
“But with the elderly, one of the things I’ve found is you get to know their stories. You get to know them. You get to see their lives, in regards to what they did when they were younger and you see their needs. And they become your family. I've come to know a lot of our residents and they’ve later passed away, but I was lucky enough to get to know them before that,” Aimee says.
According to Aimee, this is one of the most satisfying parts of the role because she does become quite close to the residents - like she’s part of their family: “It is really satisfying getting to know them and being part of their family – knowing who they are. But it can be sad at times, to tell you the truth - very sad,” she adds.
Aimee says when she gets to know the resident’s life stories, the type of life they’ve led and the fact they’ve done some great things – it’s just wonderful working with them. As she says: “Does that make sense? You know they lived a life and you're just caring for them so they can quote unquote, ‘Finish it’ with the dignity they deserve.”
They deserve to be cared for with dignity and respect
Aimee says since she’s been working with older people, she now feels strongly that they deserve to be cared for in the right way: “By helping them, we can give them a later stage of life which they deserve – because they've worked so hard for it right? Some of them have had their own business or they've worked hard at their job and we're like - ‘You know what, you worked so hard all your life to get here - you deserve to be taken care of with dignity, respect, care and love. That’s how I feel, anyway,” she adds.
The role of a carer was part of Aimee’s destiny
When asked if she’s always wanted to be a carer and to be able to help people, Aimee agrees saying: “Yes, my jobs have always been about caring at the end of the day. My mother was a nurse and she used to say to me: ‘You're going be a nurse one day Aimee,’ and it’s come true, probably because she gave me that same caring when I was growing up.”
For Aimee, her work as a nurse isn’t about the money or anything like that: “If people are in the profession just for the money, then they won't last long. But if it's in you to take care of people, then this is the profession which will give you satisfaction. Right now, I'm sitting in front of this computer but I'd rather be showering somebody, I'd rather be cleaning their wound, I'd rather be interacting with them and taking care of them. Because that's where my passion is, that's where I feel my career is supposed to be,” she adds.
Every day can be a challenge
Of course, there are still challenges in a role such as Aimee’s and while she agrees, she says it’s all part of the job: “There are many challenges, not just with the client but also making sure their families are fully in the loop with what’s happening. So, there are challenges which come up every day,” she says.
“With the elderly, it can be a challenge to care for them and still keep their dignity intact? They’re grown people and they have habits they've done for so many years in their life. Some of them don't want to accept that they're aging. But it’s all part of it and it’s greatly satisfying to help them with all of these challenges,” Aimee says.
Loneliness can be a major challenge as well
Especially since COVID, one of the major problems for older people can be loneliness when they’re cut off from their families and friends. Aimee agrees, saying: “With the elderly, it’s a lot to do with loneliness and if you add in COVID, you can see how difficult it can become.”
“I have residents I’m caring for who haven’t seen their families in months. And even pre-COVID, they can become lonely because they don't want to burden their families and that’s when I can help,” Aimee says.
“Residents often won’t confide in anyone else but they do get very close to their carers. A lot of empathy is needed and that’s where we come in. I feel, there's a need for families just the same as there’s a need for medicine,” she adds.