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When you feel it’s a privilege to be working with and looking after the elderly, you know you have that special gene. It takes a special type of person to be working in the aged care sector.

Shona Anderson has been working in aged care for 20 years and still feels joy in coming to work every day.

“I find the job very rewarding because I’m providing my residents with a purposeful quality of life that gives them enjoyment each day.”

Left to Right: Shona Anderson, Hine Smith, Betty Billings and Jocelyn Conn, Bupa Kauri Rest Home, Dargaville

In 1999 she started her career in aged care as a cleaner.

“I worked as a cleaner, then I became a caregiver and then I became a kitchenhand/cook and then Recreational Co-ordinator and now an Activities Assistant.”

She is currently working at Bupa Kauri Coast Rest Home and Hospital in Dargaville.

Shona has also added registered assessor to her job title. She is supporting her colleagues achieve nationally recognised qualifications through on-the-job training with the help of industry training organisation, Careerforce.

“I like to teach people and share my knowledge. It gives me great pleasure when they receive their certificates.”

While doing all this, she is also doing an apprenticeship, working her way towards achieving a Level 4 qualification to become a registered Diversional Therapist.

“I think on-the-job training is an excellent way for people to upskill. I’ve done a lot of workplace training over the years and I’ve learnt a lot. It’s given me the confidence to do my job at a better capacity than prior to training.”

Thinking outside the box is key to her role she says, “I need to adapt activities to the level of each person I work with. Some of my residents are active and able, so I tend to work differently than with those with more limited ability.”

“I’ve created an exercise programme because they didn’t have one when I first started. I have about 8 to 10 residents at a time and we have a lot of fun. We play balloon volleyball or ring top at the end of each exercise. We have music playing. We dance while we’re doing our exercises and playing games. I love to see them happy and laughing”

The aged care sector is experiencing a shortage of skilled and qualified workers. Shona says, “Aged care is a really hard place to work. But I would encourage people to consider working in the aged care sector. If you have the passion and the empathy to work with the elderly people, you would find the work so rewarding.”

More information about the programme leading to the Level 4 Apprenticeship in Diversional Therapy.