If you’ve never lived in an aged care home (perhaps you’ve just visited elderly parents or friends) it can be impossible to know just how many tasks an aged care worker actually does for your family member. Aged care workers have a vital role to play in making the lives of older Australians as smooth and comfortable as possible in their twilight years. They are worth their weight in gold, and we are very fortunate to have some wonderful people working here with us at FRC.
Here are some of the typical duties an aged care worker will undertake throughout their working day.
Assisting residents with personal hygiene and dressing
Many aged care residents will need assistance with going to the bathroom, showering, dressing and grooming. This is a big part of an aged care worker’s job.
Administering prescribed medication safely is a very important part of the job for an aged care worker, as many older people have unique medical conditions that require medicating.
Assisting residents with mobility
Many aged care residents have mobility issues, and struggle to get from one place to another. Aged care workers will need to assist residents with walking aids, wheelchairs or lifters, and to transport them where they need to go.
Assisting at mealtimes
Aged care workers will often bring meals such as breakfast to residents to eat in their rooms, and may need to assist them during the meal. If the aged care facility has a dining room, residents may need assistance getting to and from the dining area.
Accompanying residents during daily activities
Daily activities will consume a good part of the residents’ day, and aged care workers are responsible for assisting and guiding residents through a wide variety of activities, from crafts to gentle exercise. These activities are designed to enhance the physical, emotional and social wellbeing of older people, and to help them feel happy, connected and cared for.
Doing housekeeping, such as cleaning and vacuuming
Housekeeping tasks may include vacuuming, changing beds, dusting, emptying bins, tidying up etc.
Doing shopping and running errands
Aged care workers may be required to run errands for or with residents, go shopping or attend appointments. They may provide physical and/or social support while doing so.
Providing companionship and emotional support
This is perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects of an aged care worker’s job – and perhaps one of the most important. Loneliness can be all too common amongst older people, and interacting with aged care workers and just having a chat can be a very valuable thing to an older person.
Engaging with family members
Aged care workers will often spend time interacting with family members, providing them with updates, observations and instructions, and listening to their concerns.
Debriefing and paperwork
Aged care workers need to document everything that happens in the course of their interactions with residents, and this understandably can consume a lot of time. They also need to spend time debriefing others as they handover shifts to new staff.
A day in the life of an aged care worker can be widely variable – from providing urgent assistance to a resident who’s fallen over, to sitting and having a chat with a lonely resident, and everything in between. Aged care workers need to be caring, empathetic and compassionate, with the ability to establish and foster good relationships with clients – and they need to be prepared for the unexpected. They are very much needed, so make sure you thank them for all they do next time you see one around – they’ll appreciate it!