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Do you have what it takes to be a PCA (Personal Care Assistant)?

If you’re looking for employment in a growth industry, you can be sure there will be plenty of positions for qualified Personal Care Assistants in the future. According to the Australian Aged Care website myagedcare.gov.au, the industry is expected to grow to around 827,100 in 2050. However, working as a PCA is more than just a job. You have the opportunity to work closely with our senior citizens – our most experienced, knowledgeable and well-lived souls – and make a difference to their lives, for the better.

Lauren Todorovic - career in changing lives

        Lauren Todorovic

According to inspiring healthcare professional and advocate for aged care reform, Lauren Todorovic, having a successful career in the aged care industry involves finding enjoyment in helping our most vulnerable, elderly community and feeling inspired by your decision to work in this industry. She explains that if compassion and enjoyment don’t come easily when caring for the elderly, then being a PCA may not be the right choice for you. This doesn’t mean that every part of the job should feel like pure joy – there are some activities that are mundane or even unpleasant, but it’s about appreciating the fact that you are making a bigger difference, knowing that you are doing something for others that is improving their quality of life.

“Even if compassion is not your primary driver, you can still enter the industry as an aged care professional, as long as you are sensitive to the high standards of delivery. For some, compassion will come later after doing the work and seeing the effects.

Regardless, you still have to be persistent, respectful, and committed to helping others in need – in a manner that respects their dignity and helps them preserve their identity.”

Lauren Todorovic

Here are some of the personal qualities personal care assistant should have.

Responsibility

A personal care assistant must be responsible. The carer must realise that they are responsible for the elderly person or people in her care. For example, medications must be given on time, and hygiene routines need to be adhered to. Diligently caring for the elderly person will inspire their trust, knowing that they can rely on you.

Care

A personal care assistant should have a caring disposition. This trait is at the core of being a good carer. The ability to make another feel well cared for is reflected in their ability to make sure that they are settled, secure and happy. Being caring involves small, thoughtful gestures and actions to let the elderly person know that they are looked after.

Flexibility

Caring for others, particularly the elderly, means that you need to ‘go with the flow’ to let your patients feel that you’re there when they need you, making them feel safe and secure. This type of flexibility helps build your relationship and let’s them know that you will go out of your way to care for them.

Respect

Seniors deserve respect- Sage Institute of Aged CareSeniors deserve respect. They are, literally, our ‘seniors’. If you want to work in the PCA industry, hopefully, this is perceived as a given. Seniors deserve the right to privacy, and to have their wants and feelings acknowledged. Despite an elderly person’s increasing frailty in body and mind, they still deserve to be respected and treated in a dignified manner. Show them patience, give them your time, acknowledge them, show interest. Condescension and discrimination should not play a role, ever.

Patience

Being old can be frustrating. Losing strength, flexibility, or independence of movement are not things people enjoy. Coping with an ageing body is difficult. During the challenging day-to-day activities such as dressing or moving about, a carer must acknowledge this frustration and give our seniors the patience, grace and courtesy they deserve.

If you’re interested in finding out more about working as a PCA, you can read more on about it here on the Sage Aged Care blog “PCA Courses: all you need to know!“.

Sage Institute of Aged Care – it’s more than a job, it’s a rewarding career

Vicki Tuchtan

Vicki Tuchtan

Vicki Tuchtan is the Academic Director at Sage Institute of Education. She oversees learning processes, teaching outcomes, resources and course development. A passionate advocate for bettering standards of training in Australia, she is currently writing her PhD thesis on defining quality training in the Australian vocational education sector.
Vicki Tuchtan

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