Every day, all around Australia, thousands of aged care staff to do their very best to look after and support the residents they care for. 

Many of these staff regularly go above and beyond what is required of them. Whether it be forming close personal bonds with a resident and their family, paying for a small item out of their own pocket, or working overtime, unpaid, to give that extra care when needed, many staff go the extra mile.

But we rarely hear the stories of these hard-working individuals and the selfless work they do.

Chief executive officer, Royal Freemasons’ Benevolent Institution, Frank Price, told HelloCare we don’t do enough to celebrate the great work that happens every day in aged care.

“There is not nearly enough recognition for the great work most aged care workers do every day to improve the lives of the people in their care. 

“We need to continue celebrating the big achievements, however let us not forget that for our residents and families, it is the little things that make all the difference and if we are not doing the little things right, the big things don’t count.”

Royal commission has revealed both good and bad

The royal commission has provided an opportunity for a range of stories about aged care to be heard. The stories reported in the media often focus on the shocking and the tragic, but the positive side of aged care is also being aired.

One such story that caught HelloCare’s eye. It was told by Lindy Twyford, hospitality manager with RFBI, at the royal commission about ‘Jack’*.

Jack’s story

“It was Christmas morning and I saw this one resident named Jack sitting on the bed with his hat and his jacket and his little brown bag, and he was going home. His family were picking him up. He was really excited. So he said he wouldn’t be there for lunch. 

“I went down at morning tea time and he was still sitting on the bed with the same little bag, ready to go. I said, ‘Would you like a cup of tea?’ 

“‘No, mate,’ he said, ‘it’s all right. They’re coming. It’s fine. You know, I’m going.’ 

“I said, ‘Okay.’

“We monitored (him) during the day. 

“At lunchtime, Jack was still sitting on his bed. No one had came. I offered him lunch and he still said, ‘No.’ 

“You could tell that his level of excitedness had dropped a bit, but we still monitored it. 

“By the end of the day, (as I was) walking out, Jack was still sitting there. The family hadn’t come. 

“So myself and the staff around, we didn’t go home. Jack was starting to get undressed and we said, ‘No.’ 

“We got him together, and we said, ‘Let’s go.’ 

“We provided Christmas hats and food and everything to make his Christmas a good one and to try to take from his mind that he was forgotten. 

“That was the staff. They stayed back. We all did.”

It’s the little things…

Mr Price said Jack’s story has resonated with so many people because it brings home the struggles some older people face, and the sacrifices carers make for them.

“For me this story resonated so strongly because it is so real,” he said. 

“‘Jack’ could be my loved one and hearing how the team sacrificed their own Christmas to ensure he had a Christmas is an excellent example of the genuine care aged care workers have for their residents and how they regularly go over and above to create the best experience possible for people in their care.”

“I thank you”

Mr Price has a message for aged care workers.

“To all the aged care workers out there, I thank you. Thank you for caring for our residents and clients so that they can have the best life possible and thank you for embracing their families and supporting them during the difficult times. Without you, we would not be able to offer aged care services and all of us would suffer for it.

“Throughout the Royal Commission we have heard a lot about the bad things happening in aged care but that is not the full picture. 

“There are a lot of good things happening in aged care, and if you are like my team at RFBI, I know that you are giving 110 per cent every day and making a very great and positive impact on your residents’ lives. 

“Keep up the great work!”

* Name has been changed.

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