Christmas is traditionally a time people spent with their loved ones. This could be with family, or with friends. For some aged care workers, Christmas is spent working and caring for the residents that may not have family or anywhere to go.
Despite not being with their own families, many care workers enjoy spending time with the residents as they form their own “aged care family”, making sure that everyone has the chance to feel the Christmas spirit.
HelloCare reached out the community to hear stories about working on Christmas Day, and what we received was an abundance of beautiful stories from the most giving of people.
“Ensuring my residents have the best Xmas they can, but for me, it’s not just the day. I build it up for a week or so. Luckily our management is fine with dressing up, it’s one of the only times a year they actually encourage it. It’s great for the residents and families including grandchildren. Although I don’t think they were quite aware how seriously some of us would go lol,” says Daniel Samwell.
“I work in aged care mainly in dementia for years now and I’m on my 3rd Xmas with my beautiful residents that I absolutely adore and gives me great satisfaction that I am there with them when families are not.and I still get to spend it with my family at home after my day with those beautiful souls… Love my job,” says Amanda Smith.
“I have worked on Christmas Day, it’s great because I like to dress the residents up to the nines. I also make it special for them because they can’t go home or don’t have family. Sharing a meal with them & a drink or two,” says Francesca Brancatisano.
Jodi Laughlan says it’s the “best day to work”. “Only on the floor staff rostered on so we dress up and put all the tables together so everyone sits together making it more family-like. We play Christmas music and sing . It’s a really fun day!”
David Alchin explained that as a nurse, he worked many Christmas days. “Separated and with my children with their mums, I considered the residents my family. Always enjoyed the day with staff, families and of course residents with no family. Staff worked so hard on the day to make it special. I remain proud of those who worked under me. One big happy family that created a friendly environment that endured throughout the year.”
“Besides all the decorations and the enormous spread of food, spending Christmas with the residents rather than celebrating it with your family and loved ones gives it true meaning. It’s a sacrifice for the pleasure of others and in a way that is rewarding, knowing that those who are alone on Christmas Day are surrounded by people who truly care and to bring a little joy to their day,” says Marion D’Costa.
Teresa Crouch Hetherington says that “for some of our clients we are the only faces they will see that day so Christmas visits are super important. Taking the extra time, singing a carol with them and leaving a small gift (candy canes or rum balls) puts a smile on their faces.”
Ann Palmer Cortie is working this Christmas and Boxing Day Evening. “It is good when the residents come home from their families, happy and full from a great exhausting day. It can also help the residents whose families don’t come, or that have no family, they become our family, to give Christmas cheer to and laugh and have a good time with. We all sing off key carols and have a good night.”
Janet Rand has worked Christmas Day in home care, “I enjoy it when you are showering and dressing people getting them ready to go out to lunch with their families, but a bit sad when you have clients that have no one and are not going anywhere! Then I try to make it as happy as I can for them with little gifts!!”
It’s not just the workers who cherish the holiday, but the families of the residents too.
Sonia Davis had a special message for those who work at her father’s facility; “Thank you to all the aged care staff, I see my dad every day and the staff are wonderful in his home, they are so caring and Christmas has been celebrated nearly every day in December, so many beautiful carols and parties.”
To all the aged care workers and staff working Christmas this year, thank you for your giving up your family time to provide care to others in need. Merry Christmas.