The kindness factor

Many of us have come from a medley of different career backgrounds to join aged care, mostly for two simple reasons: we care and we want to make a difference.

And for some of us, including direct care worker Michelle Duffy, a life-changing event has prompted the decision to consider switching to a role where the rewards often come in a grateful hand squeeze, a cheery smile and a heartfelt thank you.

Michelle spent her working life in the hospitality sector, and was in a managerial position at a shop for many years. Then she suffered a heart condition that required immediate surgery. She took a year off work to recover, and then re-evaluated her life and decided she wanted to make a difference.

“I wanted to a role that was rewarding, where I could help people,” Michelle explains.

She was also used to caring for her elderly parents –and loved being able to help.

Michelle is pictured with one of her clients, Geoff, who has Parkinson’s Disease and lives alone at his home in Melbourne.

“We talk about all sorts of things, from sport to the weather, from places in the country we both know to what’s on television. He reminds me of my Dad, we never run out of things to chat about,” Michelle says.

Most weeks she buys him either a lemon slice or a lamington, which he just loves, and she also brings him the newspaper.

“I make us coffee, and we chat away,” Michelle says. “I know he looks forward to my visits.”

Read more of our staff stories Say thanks for caring