What I’ve learnt in my career in aged care

“From the minute I started the course, I just thought to myself – this is what I should have been doing,”

Selmar Aged Care Trainer and Assessor, Michelle Gleeson has had a passion for caring for the elderly for most of her life, but it wasn’t until she entered her 40s that she found the confidence to explore a career in aged care.

Aged care trainer interview: Michelle Gleeson

A truly rewarding career

Aged care careers are often described as rewarding, and Michelle agrees that making an elderly person’s day and putting a smile on their face makes her work completely worthwhile.

Advancing an aged care career

Michelle’s career journey began when she enrolled in a Certificate III in Individual Support (CHC33021), followed by a Certificate IV in Ageing Support (CHC43015). Whilst studying, Michelle worked in the sector, gaining essential on the job experience while earning an income as well – which made studying juggling other life comittments much more achievable. On top of being able to work and study at the same time, Michelle credits her hands-on practical experience for enhancing her understanding and enjoyment of the theory in the course.

As Michelle continued to progress in her career, she branched out into a Lifestyle Coordinator role after completing her Certificate IV in Leisure and Health (CHC43415). In this position the focus was on learning as much as possible about each individual in her care, with the goal of creating a care plan that would maximise outcomes and quality of life.

“I would get to know everyone personally to come up with ideas for activities and organize outings that will bring out the best in them and support their wellbeing, while working within a budget.”

The power of thoughtful aged care

While there are many options to explore in the area of elderly lifestyle activities, Michelle explains that the best way to choose is by discovering what an elderly individual may have enjoyed in the past and what they are good at. Michelle saw the best results from Montessori-based activities and music.

Music I have found is really powerful. I worked with a lady who had not been at the facility long and didn’t speak much as she was quite shy. We arranged a music afternoon and all of a sudden, we heard the most amazing voice — it gave us goosebumps as it was so beautiful. We turned around and she was singing at the top of her lungs, having barely spoken. We were all in tears, it was an incredible moment.”

From then on Michelle explains that she utilised that insight and incorporated regular music into the elderly woman’s program, resulting in her feeling more comfortable in the setting within a short time. There are so many moments like these working in aged care and Michelle describes it as an honour.

“It’s just an just an honour to go in there and make a difference in people’s day. It’s an honour to sit there and hold someone’s hand while they pass away, and do whatever you can to improve the time they’ve got left and make it special.”

Celebrating life through aged care

The stories that Michelle hears through her career in aged care have given her such an appreciation of every individual life, her only concern is that aged care and its recipients are not celebrated enough.

Michelle notes that every generation has so much to offer one another, and the biggest thing that she has gained over the years is a greater appreciation for the elderly people around us; “Even just when you’re down the street, give them a smile — you can make someone’s day,” she says.

For anyone considering a career in aged care, Michelle advises those individuals with strong empathy and compassion to jump right in and have a go. If you are considering a career in aged care, Michelle’s insights are a great reminder that all the trainers at Selmar have firsthand experience working in the sector. They are more than happy to share their knowledge, so if you have concerns or questions, just ask!

“I only wish I’d started my aged care career sooner!”

To get started within a rewarding and meaningful career in aged care, contact us to learn more.


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