If you have a loved one who needs a hand with daily tasks, why not hire an aged care support worker? They can help elderly people improve their wellbeing and achieve greater independence through a variety of different support services. This can take place in someone's home, at a residential care facility, or even out in the community!
Like Family is a platform that helps people like you find aged care support workers in your local area. We aim to match people with the right worker based on location, age, support experience and even shared interests.
In this guide, we'll cover the different types of aged care support, eight important qualities to look for in a support worker, and how to find one in your local area. Let's get to it!
Types of aged care support workers
There are 3 types of people who provide aged care support (excluding specialists, unpaid carers, and those in management roles). They are:
- Registered nurses. These workers are medically trained, and may specialise in aged care. They can administer medication and provide other types of professional care.
- Personal care worker. Can also be called "home care workers" or "personal care assistants". They help with personal care services, like toileting, dressing and showering.
- Social support worker. They help with activities that promote community access and independence, like transportation, cleaning, health & wellbeing, meal preparation and arts & craft.
You may find that you need a combination of workers — a nurse to take care of your medical needs, and a social support worker to help boost your mental and social wellbeing!
Qualifications and experience in providing care for the elderly
The aged care support workers listed above will vary in terms of qualifications and experience. This will have an impact on what type of support they can provide, and who they can support.
Those who provide personal care will usually have a Certificate III in Individual Support, which will give them a broad understanding of how to provide person-centred support. Some may have a Certificate IV in Ageing Support and be qualified to provide loss and grief support and implement fall prevention strategies.
On the other hand, those who provide social support may not require any aged care-specific qualifications. However, they often have experience working with the elderly, and may even be looking to work in aged care full-time.
In addition to qualifications, aged care support workers will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, have a valid Police Check (or equivalent), and a valid driver's licence if they are assisting with transportation.
Be sure to ask an aged care support worker about their experience and qualifications before hiring them. The more complex your needs, the more important it is to work with someone experienced!
Compassion and empathy for elderly people and their families
Our Members at Like Family have told us that compassion and empathy are the most important qualities when looking for an aged care support worker. They want someone who genuinely cares about them and is driven to help them achieve their long-term goals.
If you get the opportunity to view an aged care support worker's profile before contacting them, look for their bio. This will tell you what type of person they are, their values, and why they decided to work in aged care. You'll find many aged care support workers have a strong desire to give back to their community and help those who are less fortunate.
Patience and understanding
Working with the elderly may require more patience than other jobs. Older people may find it harder to do certain things, thus take more time doing them. They may need a worker who can speak a little clearer and slower.
A good aged care support worker will have a comprehensive understanding of their client's needs and know how to make them feel comfortable and safe. They'll be able to handle any situation calmly and with a smile, no matter how frustrating it may be.
Good communication and interpersonal skills
Many elderly people love to have a chat! If this is you (or your loved one), be sure to choose an aged care support worker who will happily share a conversation over coffee or tea. It's sure to be the highlight of their day, and yours.
Good communication skills also extend to how you interact when organising bookings. A good aged care support worker will respond to any messages or calls clearly, respectfully and in a timely manner. They'll also give you lots of notice if they need to cancel a booking.
Speaking of cancelling bookings — a good aged care support worker is reliable and trustworthy. You don't want a worker who forgets to turn up to bookings, or cancels with 5 minutes' notice.
Instead, look for someone who is always on time, very responsive to messages, and helps you find alternative supports when they are unavailable. Some online platforms like Like Family will show a support worker's response and cancellation rate to make it easier to tell how reliable they are!
Flexibility and ability to multitask
Aged care support workers may be required to do a range of tasks, and work with multiple clients. They may help with cleaning in the morning, transport to and from the doctor's at midday, and arts & craft in the afternoon.
If you or a loved one require assistance with a few different activities, make sure to connect with a support worker who has the flexibility and enthusiasm to do them all (otherwise you may need multiple support workers)!
A passion for delivering quality aged care
Most of all, a good aged care support worker wants to be one! They should be committed to providing the best care possible so that you or your loved one can live life to the fullest.
This includes keeping up to date on aged care best practices, learning new skills, and maintaining consistent communications with clients and their care teams.
Find an aged care support worker with Like Family
We're an aged care and disability support provider specialising in social and community support. We help senior Australians achieve greater independence through a variety of support services, including:
- Help with household tasks
- Health & wellbeing
Our aged care support workers (who we call Social Carers) can visit private residences, nursing homes, residential care facilities, and even provide support online!
We're committed to helping you find the right Social Carer for your needs. Click below to start your search or contact us at email@example.com