18 May 2020

The Extra Mile

Tracey Porter understands loss.

The 51-year-old knows the heartbreak that occurs when a customer takes their final breath or the sense of despair when a much-loved family member is diagnosed with a terminal illness.
A professional support worker, Tracey’s resilience has been borne not just from her professional experience but also personal circumstance after the bushfires that devastated the NSW South Coast consumed her own property. “The fires took everything we had – our home, animals and my beautiful garden which was the joy of my life and painful to lose,” she says.
Responsible for a roster of customers covering Bega to Nowra and Batemans Bay to Canberra, Tracey’s overwhelming concern once the danger had passed was not for herself but for her “regulars” in impacted areas. These include ‘Nan’, aged in her late 70s and 83-year-old 'Brian', who recently lost his wife.
Having worked for Just Better Care since 2017, Tracey says she was drawn to the in-homecare sector because she’s a firm believer that all vulnerable Australians should be supported to stay in their own homes.

“The thing I most enjoy about my work is the friendships that are created – the fact they look forward to seeing me makes it far more pleasurable. I got into this line of work to make a difference to people’s lives and I know I do that so it’s very satisfying.”
Knowing the dependence many of her customers had on her, she returned to work within a week of the fire front ripping through. Admitting it was “pretty hectic”, Tracey says she could see her customers needed her and needed to see she was okay.
While typically a working day saw Tracey provide personal care as well as cleaning, gardening, ironing or transportation services, the busy mother-of-two treats her customers as she would her own family. Having witnessed the fire destroy her community only steeled her resolve.
Having first sought permission from the appropriate authorities, she took all her customers to distribution centres where she loaded them up with toiletries, food and cleaning products. She also assisted many to apply for financial grants they were entitled to but just weren’t aware of and lodged applications for fuel vouchers for those unable to do it for themselves. Yet this degree of care is nothing new for Tracey. She has recognised how much the partners of customers struggled when left to their own devices.

“This business is tough due to the level of care they need but having experienced some loss, it soon became apparent that it is [my customers’] partners that I also create good relationships with. More often than not it is they who find themselves alone and not receiving any care or visits once my job has finished.”

To find out more about a rewarding career with Just Better Care, visit