Elizabeth Von Der Heidt from Feros Village Byron Bay celebrates Aged Care Employee Day

Updated August 4 2022 - 12:55am, first published 12:34am

From the very first moment Elizabeth Von Der Heidt started volunteering at a local aged care facility, it was clear she was going to have a huge impact.

Elizabeth Von Der Heidt found her dream job in aged care. Picture: Supplied

"I walked in, sat in the courtyard with the ladies and started singing It's a Lovely Day Today by Ella Fitzgerald," she said.

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"Everyone was clapping and singing along. We were so happy."

Although Elizabeth didn't realise it, her career as a preschool teacher was about to come to an end. Behind the scenes, the enamoured residents at Feros Village Byron Bay pleaded with management to give her a job.

"The next day, one of the managers saw me and said, 'Liz, you've got to come to work'. And I said, 'No, I don't work here. I'm just a volunteer'," she said.

"But the residents had asked for me to come back and work there, and so I came."

It was an unconventional recruitment strategy, but it worked - Elizabeth has now been working at Feros Village Byron Bay for more than 20 years.

In recognition of Aged Care Employee Day (Sunday, August 7), Elizabeth is encouraging others to try the career she loves.

"The best part of my job is to bring joy to the people at Feros," she said.

"To smile, to bring them stories, to give hugs - it's all very much a blessing to me. I love people. Some of our residents don't have someone visit them every day, and so I've become like a granddaughter to them.

"It's a blessing to go home knowing you have given care to someone who really needed it.

"I'll never retire. I'll just book myself in at Feros when I get older, because I like it so much!"

Elizabeth Von Der Heidt said: "Its a blessing to go home knowing you have given care to someone who really needed it". Picture: Supplied

Ultimately, Elizabeth has one piece of advice for those who think they may enjoy care work.

"Every day and every person is different. I help residents get showered, get them ready for breakfast, help the ladies put some make-up on. We have afternoon tea, and I might encourage the residents to go to a music lesson, or get on the bus from the village to go shopping in town, or get them painting or watching a movie," she said.

"But you can consistently bring joy in, bring smiles in, and find that so fulfilling in life."

Aged Care Employee Day is an annual celebration supporting and honouring Australia's residential, home and community aged care workers.

This year's theme, #ThanksforCaring, recognises each and every team member involved in caring for older Australians receiving home care or residential care services. This includes nurses and care workers, allied health professionals, hospitality teams, drivers, cleaners, volunteers, lifestyle officers, administration staff and many others.

For more information about a career with Feros Care, visit feroscare.com.au/careers

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