Retraining for the love of her grandparents

With the busiest years of parenting behind her, New Zealander and mother of ten, Ana Katoanga was ready to care for another tribe she loves — the elderly.

Ana trained to be a personal care worker in aged care when she was just 16 years of age. It was her deep love for her grandparents that drew her to the industry.

“Before I came to Australia in 2000, I used to love looking after my grandparents, who essentially raised me,” says Ana. “They are still alive, and while I can’t repay them for all they have done for me, they are the main reason I chose to work in aged care.”

Ana joined our Model of Care Apprenticeship Traineeship Scheme (MOCATS) last year. The program was launched in 2021 to recruit caring, empathetic individuals who are interested working as personal care assistants at Royal Freemasons and gaining a Certificate III in Individual Support (Aged Care).

The program has been the perfect opportunity for Ana to retrain and re-enter the workforce. She has loved refreshing her skills in the practical aspects of personal care, such as assisting with meals, dressing, toileting, as well as learning to manage behaviours, particularly with residents who are living with dementia. “Giving residents quality time is so important, especially when they are stressed. In those moments I sit with them and comfort them until they feel calm again,” says Ana.

Ana is now well into her traineeship and works at one of our residential aged care homes six days a week. She loves the residents and has won her way into their affections with her caring and gentle nature. Their faces light up with joy whenever they see her.

Ana believes that a respectful approach that puts the resident first is essential in aged care workers. “You need to be very humble, taking your time with the residents, respecting their needs and their dignity. I care for residents in the way that they want to be cared for,” she says.

If you would like to join our compassionate aged care team, please visit: royalfreemasons.org.au/career

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