Meet our team: Sarah, House Manager at St Louis On Sea

“I’m very lucky to have this opportunity to work in an environment that genuinely feels like a home to the clients that live there.”

Sarah chose a career in aged care over twenty years ago and today has her dream job. She is house manager at St Louis on Sea and below she shares why she loves her job and working in aged care.

Why did you choose to work in aged care?

“I’m very lucky to have this opportunity to work in an environment that genuinely feels like a home to the clients that live there. I have the freedom to explore better ways of care and I can do it in a home like environment using Montessori principles where people are given the opportunity to participate in everyday living, doing things in the home that they had forgotten they could do.

I chose aged care because I missed my grandparents. I lived in England and they lived in Scotland and I have always enjoyed being around older people. The older generation fascinate me, I love hearing their stories, what they’ve been through and their history. They make me smile because they have grown old and have had to surmount all the obstacles life has put in their path.

When I was 14 years old, I used to do a paper round to an aged care retirement village and I loved it. I guess it has been a calling since then. I lost both my parents several years ago and my work in aged care helped me cope with the grief tremendously. The presence of older people gives me a sense of place in my community. Luckily I still have my gran!”

What skills and values do you bring to the job?

“For me having the respect for the person is supporting them to do things for themselves. By not doing everything for them, it makes them feel they are still worthy and that they are not a burden on anyone. Our clients living with dementia may have forgotten how to do many things, but they are not children, they are adults who just need our support to remember what they are capable of.

I value the teamwork at St Louis Aged Care. We come together to support each other to find ways to improve life for our clients and to also look after each other in the process.

For example, if someone is not feeling a hundred percent or client’s behaviours are out of the ordinary, we can all work together as a team to work on a plan to support them. I want me and my team to leave at the end of the shift knowing we have done a good job, with a smile on our face and a sense of wellbeing.

Our goal every day is to leave knowing we have helped and supported that person to live every day to the best of their ability.”

What is unique about the way St Louis on Sea delivers care?

“St Louis on Sea is created like a real home. We don’t have lots of people coming in, to give medications for example. It’s a homelike environment, not an aged care environment and there is a significant difference.

We also have many carers and can provide one on one support.

When we’re teaching people new skills, we break down the task into simple steps so that they don’t fail. What has happened for clients is that in the last 5-10 years they have failed at things so they stop having a go. When we break the task down to the basics and then we help them build it back up, it gives them confidence to have a go at other things.

This approach is based on Montessori methods. We want people to succeed so the more they do, the better they get.

We have just built our own gardens beds and we are all involved in growing vegetables to use in our cooking. We have had family members helping too. It brings us altogether because families don’t always know what to do when they come to visit. Therefore when they are involved in projects such as this, they are engaged in their loved ones lifestyle and daily care.”

Does your job give you the work-life balance you want?

“We all need work life balance and St Louis is committed to providing this. They care for the carers so that carers can do their work with more ease and commitment. We have a various range of shifts available and we cater to everyone’s needs where we can and our staff value this.

Our rosters are first and foremost governed by supporting our clients so if they need us at different times of the day, that’s what we deliver. The scheduling is flexible and we have plenty of staff so it comes together in such a way that our team find the right shifts for their needs as well.”

What do you enjoy about working for St Louis?

“The Montessori methods and our unique way of delivering care at St Louis means I don’t go home feeling stressed, I’m happier and more relaxed. They have given me the time to explore ways of delivering care that are not forced, they are in tune with the individual and what they need and want, and what works for that person. We adapt our care to that person, not the other way round, and that makes it more pleasant and fulfilling for everyone involved, the carer and the person who you care for.

We have the sea across the road and we go for walks along the beach every day so our clients can wiggle their toes in the sand. It’s a beautiful location, I feel very lucky. It’s my dream job!”

Looking for a rewarding aged care career? Contact St Louis – Adelaide and Victor Harbor

Do you want to go back to basics in aged care, to do what you love doing? At St Louis you can work in an environment to give individualised personalised attention. You are able to work in a caregiver role with more one on one attention.

Working as a carer for St Louis, you offer independence, dignity, valued relationships, connections and participation in the community, being attentive to your clients needs first and foremost. Client centred care is at the core of our service.

We also offer flexible hours, a happy team environment and work life balance so that you enjoy coming to work!

You can visit our home care careers page which has interviews with staff, FAQ’s and other resources. Or you can call us on 08 8332 09050 for an initial and confidential chat about career opportunities at St Louis Aged Care.

Want to learn more?

Sarah Miles