From bakery to aged care

After 26 years working in a bakery, Sandra found her niche in aged care – a passion that stemmed back to her childhood.

Aged care for me was a totally new venture. My mother had always said that as a child when she used to go and visit people, I was always with elderly people having a chat to them, so I guess it’s my niche in life’.

Sandra’s career in aged care has spanned 15 years, having recently received recognition for 15 years employment with Goodwin. An elegant crystal swan symbolising many years of dedication and passion for helping others.

To see her clients’ smiles is what motivates her in her job. Sandra especially appreciates taking her clients out so they can enjoy a hobby. ‘We have one client who takes tai chi classes and some like to go to the markets to buy fresh fruit and vegetables and have a cup of coffee while enjoying the fresh air. Something so minor for someone can be so major’, says Sandra.

Sandra started in a very different environment, surrounded by flour, hot ovens and baked goods. ‘I worked in a bakery for 26 years prior to moving to Canberra to start a better life for myself and my two children.’ A widow with two young children, Sandra soon landed a job at Goodwin as a carer, a job she did with excellence and passion and made her stay for the long term. ‘It was a great role to have combining looking after my own children with the role as a carer. The company is fantastic, and I was able to be flexible with my hours’, says Sandra who also praises her children. ‘I was very lucky that my children were so good and that they could be trusted’.

When we ask what made her stay in aged care, Sandra does not hesitate to share her passion for helping the elderly in their homes. ‘I like helping people, to give people the opportunity to have services, to help them be independent and to help them stay at home for a little bit longer.’

As the children got older Sandra started to work as an on-call carer, a role she had for 5 ½ years before starting a role as a Home Care Package coordinator and later as a Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) coordinator. Sandra has completed Cert III and Cert IV in Aged Care and Diploma in Coordination with support from Goodwin.

Sandra says that the support and policies are an important part why she stayed with Goodwin for so many years.

‘They are very flexible, they have a lot of policies and procedures that I thought was a bit crazy at first, but as time has gone on, they have developed them and they protect yourself, give you the boundaries and the guidelines which are quite clear, and they protect the client as well. I enjoy helping people within those guidelines and the flexibility as well.’

When Sandra is not working, she likes to spend time with her family, have BBQs and go for walks with her dogs. ‘I also like to sleep when I get the chance’, says Sandra with a smile.