“Connections break through loneliness”

There’s something about working with older people that resonates with Rachel Martin. Their stories, their wisdom garnered over the years… she finds it difficult to pin-point reasons. But one thing she knows for sure is that she has a passion for making a difference to their lives.

Rachel is a Team Leader within the Social Connections Program at Uniting AgeWell, and her role is to facilitate the many programs that are available to keep older people in Melbourne’s east and south connected to the community and to others.

Aged Care Employee Day falls on Monday August 7 this year. We are using this occasion to celebrate all that people like Rachel and the 3,900 plus other people across Uniting AgeWell do in making a difference to the lives of older people. The care they provide is constant and unwavering, day in and day out. It is hugely appreciated, not only by the organisation but by the people they help.

“Social isolation is a terrible thing,” says Rachel. “You only have to look at the lockdowns to realise what loneliness does to people.”

Hers is a behind-the-scenes role and she supports the work that staff do. Volunteers provide one-on-one social support to clients, and staff mentor and support the volunteers.

Every time she hears how an older person’s life has been enriched by the program, Rachel feels a sense of joy in supporting the work of them living their best lives possible.

“I’ve always cared about people,” explains Rachel.

She certainly has. She has a Degree in Social Sciences and a Diploma of Leadership and Management, and over the years has worked in Child Protection and with people experiencing homelessness.

She’s been in her current role for over two years, and says it’s an absolute privilege to help older people lead busy, purposeful happy lives.

“There are older people whose families have moved away and there are others who don’t have families or friends. There are often less options to connect with others and this is where our program supports them to find a renewed sense of independence, connection and purpose.

Rachel says some people still have anxiety about getting back into the social swing. “Winter does not help, and the aftermath of COVID isolation is still being felt.”

She loves the opportunities and wide variety of services offered by Uniting AgeWell as a leading provider in Aged Care.

In her spare time Rachel enjoys creative ventures, Pilates, walking, hanging out with loved ones and dancing.

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