“A people person with a gift of the gab” is how Jennifer Findlay describes herself and as a Community Support Worker with Southcare these skills have seen her invited into 300 homes in 5 years to look after our State’s most vulnerable.
“My friend”, “cheerful”, “kind”, “thoughtful” and “considerate” is how her customers describe her and why she has been recognised as one of Southcare’s #agedcaresuperheroes as part of Age Care Employee Day with a theme of #thanksforcaring.
Jennifer was also named the overall winner at Southcare’s annual “Living the Southcare Values Awards” recently.
Not that Jennifer sees herself as a hero of course.
“I just love people and I love this job, we are like one big extended family,” Jennifer said.
“I join my customers for lunch or afternoon tea with their family, adult children have bought me maple syrup from visits to Canada and I sometimes feel like I know more about my customers than some of their family members do!
“There is always a strong level of professional respect – that goes without question – but care, compassion, empathy and all the qualities are also inherent making for a life-long friendship,” Jennifer said.
Jennifer’s story as an #agedcaresuperhero extends way beyond her work at Southcare.
You see, she also is a full time carer for her husband and also provides care and support for her daughter who is currently receiving treatment for bowel cancer.
“You could say I was born for this job,” she said. “Lucky my shoulders are broad!”
It wasn’t always that way. Jennifer was a bookkeeper in a past life and after being made redundant from her corporate job at age 58 she found herself re-evaluating her purpose.
“I became a professional carer later in life and I do think I was born for this job because my life experience and a healthy dose of people skills is what helps me thrive in this work,” Jennifer said.
“This job is all about giving – giving time, giving attention and of course giving essential service to help those that sometimes aren’t able to help themselves.
“The irony is that while so much of my time is spent giving, I am actually the one who is receiving too.
“This job has given me a confidence and a sense of purpose that I never had. My friends and family have commented that I have developed more as a person in the last five years because of the work I do now.
“I love that my job allows me to both give and receive, it may have taken me 58 years to fully realise that, but has truly been worth the wait.
“As people age, many feel a loss of self independence and purpose but isn’t it great that by their very nature of allowing me into their homes, they are actually helping me find mine.
“Life is a journey and mine has led me to help people and be helped in return,” Jennifer said.
Southcare CEO Dr Nicky Howe said everyday home care and community workers are celebrated at Southcare and the spotlight very rightly shone a little brighter during Aged Care Employee Day.
“Aged Care Employee Day is an official day to thank, honour, recognise and celebrate those who work in the aged care industry across Australia,” Dr Howe said.
“We’ve been doing that at Southcare for almost 40 years and have a tremendous team who deserve every accolade from their peers and their customers.
“I am honoured to say #thanksforcaring to our #agedcaresuperheroes as equally as I am to say it to our customers and their families. We are very much in this together, never moreso than right now, and isn’t that the way it should be?”